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My family uses Slack. It’s pretty interesting. | Labs
It turns out our school is living in the future, providing a RSS-feed per child. I had no idea. RSS works very well with this setup.
via:alexismadrigal  rss  slack  schools  education  sweden  2016  automation  chat  parenting  communication  internet  web  online 
february 2016 by robertogreco
How Sleep Became A Social Justice Issue | Fast Company | Business + Innovation
"Health researchers are underscoring the connection between sleep, work, and poverty — and the immense value of sleeping in."



""This study presents another opportunity to raise concerns about sleep patterns as both an unmet public health and a social justice problem," Lauren Hale, an associate professor of preventive medicine, writes in an essay accompanying the paper, which was published in the journal Sleep in December.

More than ever, working Americans are starved of sleep: Up to 30% of employed adults report routinely sleeping less than six hours a night, representing approximately 40.6 million workers. (The American Academy of Sleep Medicine recommends that adults get about seven to nine hours of nightly sleep for optimal health, productivity, and alertness.) Short sleepers are also potentially sacrificing their health and safety: Short sleep duration has been linked to obesity, diabetes, hypertension, stroke, coronary artery disease, and higher levels of mortality in general.

"My research has shown that individuals with lower socioeconomic status (i.e., less education, unemployed) are more likely to have inappropriate sleep duration and poorer sleep quality," says Hale, who is an editor of the journal Sleep Health.

There are many possible reasons for this, Hale says: Hours spent sleeping are lost amid higher levels of anxiety, more financial insecurity, poorer health, and less free time, with more time spent working low-income jobs and commuting to work. Additionally, "some of this may be related to the physical environment in which people sleep. Maintaining a regular, quiet, cool, and dark sleeping space may be a luxury that not all can afford."

Another study shows that African-Americans were over three times as likely as whites to report very short sleep—less than five hours—while Asians and non-Mexican Hispanics were two to three times as likely. Racism may also take a toll on these groups: Discrimination based on race is associated with shorter sleep and more sleep difficulties.

For Hale, who has been sounding an alarm about the importance of sleep for life trajectories and health outcomes, sleep poverty is another form of social inequality. And short sleeping times may eventually compound the effects of other forms of scarcity—of money, of time, of health, of opportunity—to further limit social mobility.

"When taken as a whole, the patterns show that those with lower levels of social status are more likely to sleep either too little or too much, categories which are associated with higher risks of mortality among a host of other adverse outcomes," Hale wrote in her commentary on the study. The research examined a wealth of publicly available data about how Americans spend their time, from the U.S. Census's American Time Use Survey, in the years between 2003 and 2011.

Having less than you need of any resource has been shown to limit long-term planning, increase anxiety, and sap both brainpower and willpower. Poor sleep, for example, increases cravings for high-calorie foods. Shorter sleep has also been associated with poor psychological health."
sleep  labor  work  health  inequality  socialjustice  via:alexismadrigal  2015  poverty  ciarabyrne  employment 
march 2015 by robertogreco
Avoiding the crush - Future Tense - ABC Radio National (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)
"Put simply, the time-to-collision law suggests that all individuals make subconscious calculations whenever they move, working out in advance who or what is likely to bump into them.

According to the theory, those calculations are made simultaneously and constantly; but, says Guy, the only assessments that are acted upon are those where a person or object is determined to be within two to three seconds of collision.

‘If two people are going to collide very imminently you feel really strong discomfort from that interaction, whereas if they are walking close to you but in the opposite direction there's almost no effect.’

The theory’s veracity, says Guy, is based on an examination of a vast amount of visual data.

‘Thanks to surveillance cameras, thanks to advances in computer vision, we can get hundreds and hundreds of trajectories of people walking in different kinds of environments. Something that's nice about living in the 21st century is there's lots of data.

‘We had data from previous researchers who studied people in bottlenecks, people on college campuses, people just outside of shopping malls, and what we can see is we have lots of trajectories, lots of paths that these people are taking, and we look for patterns in these paths, patterns in the trajectories.’

Time-to-collision isn’t a complete answer to how people move in a crowded environment. Dr Guy acknowledges that cultural differences can also play a part, which is why foreign tourists often find themselves instinctively walking on the wrong side of the footpath, but he argues the theory has enormous potential benefits for future urban planning and design.

‘It's a nice, simple law,’ he says. ‘It automatically suggests a new way to simulate crowds. When you have more accurate simulations you are able to better utilise your space. You are able to make buildings that have more effective hallways and more effective layouts of how people will flow.’

‘As we have more people sharing less space, understanding these movements better is going to allow us to have more efficient utilisation.’

A case of watch this space."
urban  urbanism  crowds  people  2015  via:alexismadrigal  antonyfunnell  stephenguy  time-to-collision  navigation  cities  pedestrians  trajectory 
march 2015 by robertogreco
SCiO - Explore More!
"A Pocket Molecular Sensor For All!

Scan materials or physical objects. Get instant relevant information to your smartphone. Food, medicine, plants, and more.

Smartphones made it easy to research facts, capture images, and navigate street maps, but they haven't brought us closer to the physical environment in which we live – until now.

Meet SCiO. It is the world's first affordable molecular sensor that fits in the palm of your hand. SCiO is a tiny spectrometer and allows you to get instant relevant information about the chemical make-up of just about anything around you, sent directly to your smartphone."
sensors  scanners  physics  smartphones  scio  spectrometers  via:alexismadrigal 
march 2015 by robertogreco
bell hooks talks to John Perry Barlow - Lion's Roar
"John Perry Barlow: We’ve already been separated by information to an alarming extent. The difference between information and experience is that when you’re having an experience, you’re in real-time contact with the phenomena around you. You’re able to ask questions with every synapse in your body of the surrounding conditions. What I’m hopeful about is that because cyberspace is an interactive medium in a human sense, we’ll be able to go through this info-desert and be able to have something like tele-experience. We’ll be able to experience one other genuinely, in a truly interactive fashion, at a distance.

bell hooks: One of the things I think about is what it means to be communicating when you’re not aware of the specifics of who people are. You can’t respond to their looks, which are so central to the mechanisms of domination in our society. We judge on the basis of what somebody looks like, skin color, whether we think they’re beautiful or not. That space on the Internet allows you to converse with somebody with none of those things involved.

John Perry Barlow: There’s something problematic here, and I go back and forth on it all the time. I want to have a cyberspace that has prana in it. I want to have a cyberspace where there’s room for the breath and the spirit.

bell hooks: Well, that’s what I haven’t found, Barlow.

John Perry Barlow: Well, I haven’t either. The central question in my life at the moment is whether or not it’s possible to have it there. That’s what I’m really trying to figure out. Dialogue is not just language. The text itself is a minimal portion of the overall conversation. The overall conversation includes the color of your skin, and includes the way I smell, and includes the way we feel sitting here on the stoop with our thighs touching.

It’s not that there’s anything particularly healthy about cyberspace in itself, but the way in which cyberspace breaks down barriers. Cyberspace makes person-to-person interaction much more likely in an already fragmented society. The thing that people need desperately is random encounter. That’s what community has."
1995  bellhooks  johnperrybarlow  internet  web  online  society  domination  patriarchy  via:alexismadrigal  cyberspace  prana  communication 
march 2015 by robertogreco
Image Composite Editor - Microsoft Research
"Image Composite Editor (ICE) is an advanced panoramic image stitcher created by the Microsoft Research Computational Photography Group. Given a set of overlapping photographs of a scene shot from a single camera location, the app creates a high-resolution panorama that seamlessly combines the original images. ICE can also create a panorama from a panning video, including stop-motion action overlaid on the background. Finished panoramas can be shared with friends and viewed in 3D by uploading them to the Photosynth web site. Panoramas can also be saved in a wide variety of image formats, including JPEG, TIFF, and Photoshop’s PSD/PSB format, as well as the multiresolution tiled format used by HD View and Deep Zoom."
microsoft  panoramas  photosynth  photography  imagery  applications  windows  automcomplete  via:alexismadrigal 
february 2015 by robertogreco
LOL Everything Matters When Everyone Is Connected - BuzzFeed News
"The guilt you feel when you take part in the on-demand economy may be justified."

Our washing machine is broken. Or, at least, the pipe it drains into is. Despite all my attempts to fix it, crawling around on my belly with a pipe wrench and a plumber’s snake, all I have to show is a broken PVC pipe, a minor chemical burn, and a mountain of laundry that our family of four has piled up. So last night, I put in an order with Washio, an on-demand laundry service. And this morning, an extremely nice and highly professional woman showed up at our door, promptly at 7 a.m., took away our laundry, and left us with a chocolate pastry from a bakery in Oakland.

It was amazing, and I feel conflicted about it.

It’s the same kind of feeling I have whenever I take an Uber, or Lyft, or use Instacart to pick up groceries, rather than going myself. I found myself apologizing to the woman who picked up our laundry. “Our washing machine is broken,” I explained. “Well that’s good business for us,” she countered. And it’s true, I guess. Why wouldn’t she be happy to have work? A job is a job when you need one.

And yet my guilt stems not from whatever her own personal experience is as much as it does the remaking of the great American economy into a vast labor market of contract workers — the 1099 economy — whose days are dictated by the whims of mobile software and whose job security is often determined by the numerical star rankings of a capricious and harried market.

I spent a decade freelancing, a 1099 contractor, and it was fantastic. I had a freedom most people could only dream of. There was no boss to answer to other than myself. I made decent money too, not initially, but I hustled and worked hard and made it. The American way.

Of course, I had my wife, a nurse, to lean on financially during the lean times, and my parents to fall back on failing that. Thanks to a year-to-year magazine contract, I even had the luxury of a steady paycheck during much of that time. But I banked almost no money for my retirement during those years, even when times were fat. And as soon as our first child was born, you’d better believe I went out and got a motherfucking 9-to-5. One that would make sure I had a safety net if I were suddenly unable to work. One that came with a modicum of security in case of unforeseen unemployment, and health benefits, and even life insurance — because we are all going to die. You are going to die.

And the person who drives your Uber will die. And the person who brings your groceries from Instacart will die. And the person from Homejoy who cleans your home is going to die. And the person who shows up in a TaskRabbit T-shirt and hangs your TV and assembles the Ikea bed that’s been sitting in a box in your garage for the past three months is going to die. Or maybe get hurt and leave the workforce. Or maybe the start up they work for will fail, as startups often do.
How are we, as a society, going to deal with that? Going to deal with them? What will it mean if we completely remake our workforce of laborers into contractors without the myriad benefits we associate with full-time employment? Who ultimately benefits when they don’t?

Obviously the companies who employ (or, don’t employ) contractors benefit. So too do their payment processors. Even the consumer does. That’s certain. Here in San Francisco, where a corrupt and broken taxi system has long failed us, it’s hard not to love Lyft and Uber’s amazing degree of efficiency, both in how well they work and how little they cost, comparatively.

Yet the most ruthlessly efficient (and pleasurable!) delivery mechanisms are not always the ones that are best for us over time. Heroin, injected intravenously, is amazing. But it’s probably better for most of us to take a Tylenol 3 for our pain. Yes, we can all be connected via apps and services now, but first, we are all connected as a society.

There are forces at work to put the brakes on all this. Current lawsuits in San Francisco, for example, seek to have Uber and Lyft drivers reclassified as employees. Because there are rules about who is a contractor, and who is not. We are a nation of law, and the law is not something arbitrary, given to us by God or kings, but rather it is something we have agreed upon, and that we can remake. Laws can be rewritten. And often it is the wealthy and powerful who write them. David Plouffe wasn’t hired for his insight into complex dispatch systems.

Washio charges $1.60 per pound for wash-and-fold laundry. The wash-and-fold a few blocks away costs $1.25 for the same. The machines at a nearby laundry are $2 to wash and another $2 to dry, and I estimate it would take me about three hours all told to get our great heaping mass of laundry washed, dried, and folded up into piles sorted by size and function. When you factor in our children and our jobs and the pipe repair awaiting me in my basement, the extra cost I’m paying to have someone come get it and do it for me seems negligible. It seems like a bargain. The devil always does."
via:alexismadrigal  labor  work  sharingeconomy  onedemand  washio  freelancing  society  inequality  security  capitalism  uber 
february 2015 by robertogreco
What They See
"You visit museums to see works of art. Have you ever wondered what they see instead?"
art  pov  perspective  museums  tumblr  via:alexismadrigal 
january 2015 by robertogreco
Road Warriors - 40min documentary - YouTube
"Watch the full film on Journeyman: http://jman.tv/film/453/Road+Warriors

Or for downloads and more information: http://journeyman.tv/12557/short-film...
September 1995

This week we bring back 'Road Warriors', a documentary that paints a picture of the anarchy that followed the failed US intervention in Somalia. The last time the Americans went in on their own to 'sort out' a failed Islamic state, it left the nation even more de-stabilised than before. In the end only the establishment of an Islamic court and implementation of Sharia Law saved a desperate populace from rape, thievery and murder. Somalia's bloodthirsty militia, some as young as eleven, became the guardians of Islamic justice. We join them on their combat vehicles -- Mad Max style 'technicals' and take a rare look at how Islamic law has sought to bring order to a chaotic nation."
1995  somalia  film  towatch  africa  via:alexismadrigal 
december 2014 by robertogreco
WHEN I LEFT THE HOUSE IT WAS STILL DARK (2013) — MARINA ABRAMOVIC INSTITUTE
""When I Left the House it Was Still Dark" (2013) was a long durational, ephemeral performance made for an audience of one. The creative process for this performance, as with other Odyssey Works projects, is an act of attentiveness and devotion. The team spends several months studying the participant before beginning to compose a set of experiences designed to move him or her in a profound way. By immersing themselves in the life of an individual and creating fully participatory experiences, Odyssey Works establishes a new paradigm for the relationship between artist and audience. Traversing theater, literature, visual art, music, dance, dream analysis, web hacking, and a myriad of other forms, Odyssey Works has been creating performances for an audience of one for more than a dozen years, inserting themselves into the lives of individuals, hoping to change one life at a time. Between the months of July and September 2013, Odyssey Works created a performance specifically for Rick Moody, an author living in New York City.

It began one evening when Rick's priest gave him a children’s book titled "The Secret Room," to read to his daughter. This book, which appeared to have been written in the fifties, was actually a creation by Odyssey Works.

Shortly after this, Rick was given an invitation to visit Sid’s, a vacant hardware store in downtown Brooklyn. The store became his own secret room, and he continued to visit it weekly for the rest of the summer. In the space, he encountered a variety of objects foreshadowing moments to come in his odyssey. Among these was a notebook detailing the story of a man searching for a cellist whose music deeply moved him, a recording of string music, and a photograph of a prairie. One day after visiting Sid’s, Rick was brought to the airport and given a plane ticket to Saskatchewan, Canada. When he arrived, he was driven to the prairie in the picture where he found the cellist from the story performing a variation of the music he had been listening to for weeks.

After this, other aspects of the performance began to manifest in Rick’s everyday life. Dancers in red appeared in the streets, on the subways, on the Brooklyn Bridge. A review of the story about the cellist appeared on NYTimesBooks.com. When meeting new people, it became increasingly hard for Rick to distinguish whether they were performers or just people. The border between the quotidian and the performative became inapparent. Rick found his life completely overtaken by Odyssey Works' actors, dancers, musicians, and set designers.

In the culminating days of the performance, actors guided Rick between locations in Brooklyn, an experience which allowed him to meditate on the symbology of home. On the final day of his odyssey, he awoke in New Jersey and his family and friends led him back to Brooklyn."
audiencesofone  art  odysseyworks  2013  via:alexismadrigal 
december 2014 by robertogreco
In other words: inside the lives and minds of real-time translators | Mosaic
"The world’s most powerful computers can’t perform accurate real-time translation. Yet interpreters do it with ease. Geoff Watts meets the neuroscientists who are starting to explain this remarkable ability."



"I ask Moser-Mercer if interpreters ever do anything else while interpreting. In a job dominated by women, she tells me, some knit – or used to when it was a more popular pastime. And you can see how a regular manual action might complement the cerebral activity of translation. But a crossword puzzle? Moser-Mercer hasn’t tried it, but she tells me that under exceptional circumstances – a familiar topic, lucid speakers, etc. – she thinks she could.

That such a feat might be possible suggests that interesting things are indeed happening in the brains of simultaneous interpreters. And there are other reasons for thinking that interpreters’ brains have been shaped by their profession. They’re good at ignoring themselves, for example. Under normal circumstances listening to your voice is essential to monitoring your speech. But interpreters have to concentrate on the word they’re translating, so they learn to pay less attention to their own voice.

This was first demonstrated 20 years ago in a simple experiment devised by Franco Fabbro and his colleagues at the University of Trieste in Italy. Fabbro asked 24 students to recite the days of the week and the months of the year in reverse order while listening to themselves through headphones. First they heard themselves with no delay. They then repeated the exercise with delayed feedback of 150, 200 and 250 milliseconds. Even a slight delay subverts speech, forcing listeners to slow down, stutter, slur and even come to a halt. Sure enough, many of the students made errors. But half of the group were in their third or fourth year at the university’s School of Translators and Interpreters, and these students suffered no significant disruption.

Some habits acquired in the workplace may carry over to the home. One way that experienced interpreters acquire speed is by learning to predict what speakers are about to say. “I will always anticipate the end of a sentence, no matter who I’m talking to and whether or not I’m wearing a headset,” says Moser-Mercer. “I will never wait for you to finish your sentence. Many of us interpreters know this from our spouses and kids. ‘You never let me finish…’ And it’s true. We’re always trying to jump in.”

Interpreters also have to be able to cope with stress and exercise self-control when working with difficult speakers. I read one review, based on questionnaires given to interpreters, which suggested that members of the profession are, as a consequence, highly strung, temperamental, touchy and prima donna-ish. Maybe. But I couldn’t see it in Marisa, Carmen or Anne."



"The story that is emerging from the Geneva work – that interpretation is about coordinating more specialised brain areas – seems to gel with interpreters’ descriptions of how they work. To be really effective, for example, a simultaneous interpreter needs a repertoire of approaches. “The process has to adapt to varying circumstances,” says Moser-Mercer, who still does 40 to 50 days of interpretation a year, mainly for UN agencies. “There could be poor sound quality, or a speaker with an accent, or it might be a topic I don’t know much about. For instance, I wouldn’t interpret a fast speaker in the same way I would a slow one. It’s a different set of strategies. If there isn’t time to focus on each and every word that comes in you have to do a kind of intelligent sampling.” It may be that the flexible operation of the brain networks underpinning interpretation allows interpreters to optimise strategies for dealing with different types of speech. And different interpreters listening to the same material may use different strategies."
translation  via:alexismadrigal  2014  neuroscience  geoffwatts  languages  language  brain  simultaneousinterpretation  interpreters 
november 2014 by robertogreco
Pico Rivera, tattoo: Gang member's tattoo of a liquor store slaying leads to his conviction - Los Angeles Times
"Inked on the chest of a Pico Rivera gang member was the detailed scene of a liquor store slaying that had stumped an L.A. County sheriff's investigator for more than four years. It leads to a jailhouse confession from Anthony Garcia — and a first-degree murder conviction."
losangeles  gangs  picrivera  tattoos  crime  stories  2011  via:alexismadrigal  police  murder 
november 2014 by robertogreco
Every Email Is a Ghost Story - The Awl
"The truth is that we are surrounded by digital ghosts, easily conjured. The notion that people, especially younger people, are vulnerable to bad digital decision-making has risen to the level of public policy—Europe recently enacted a “right to be forgotten” law that has Google excising unpleasant links from individual search histories. But the idea that some indeterminate past self can fly out of nowhere is disconcerting beyond, say, a prospective employer seeing an embarrassing picture. Self-respect, to paraphrase Joan Didion, isn’t about the public face of things—it concerns a “private reconciliation.” Locked in my college email box were drafts and funny notes but also a trove of strange saved messages. They were emails that I had written and for some reason—sentimentality, pride—felt compelled to save. Most were unsent. They were, I think, an attempt at love letters."
ghosts  email  history  technology  memory  2014  time  digital  search  reyhanharmanci  via:alexismadrigal 
november 2014 by robertogreco
Homepage DD1US / Sounds from Scientific, Meteorological and Commercial Satellites
"This part of my audio collection is dedicated to commercial and scientific satellites. I started this separate section when Greg Roberts, ZS1BI in Cape Town, started to convert some of his old recordings from a tape recorder with elastic belt drives to electronic format. Greg is a retired professional astronomer and since 1957 has been actively involved in the tracking of artificial satellites, both by optical and radio means. Click on his picture to the right to get more information about him and his activities."
audio  space  fieldrecording  listening  sound  satellites  gregroberts  via:alexismadrigal 
november 2014 by robertogreco
Broken Promises
"Broken Promises What should a journalist investigate today,
according to what has been promised in the past?"



"In 2003, an article in the New Scientist predicted that bananas could be extinct in 2013. Guess what. This was yet another broken promise.

It can be hard to keep track of promises and predictions. This tool makes it easier for journalists and citizens to keep an eye on what has been promised for a certain date (a day, a month or a year). Articles from the Guardian and the New-York Times are searched for dates and then filtered to remove inadequate results (movie releases, for instance).

Broken Promises was started by Jens Finnäs, Yordi Dam, Erik Karstens and Pierre Romera during the WAN/IFRA Media Hackday in Berlin. It was further developed by Journalism++ Edouard Richard, Anne-Lise Bouyer and Paul Joannon."
journalism  followup  2014  via:alexismadrigal  brokenpromises 
november 2014 by robertogreco
Calm Technology
"The world around is made up of information that competes for our attention. What is necessary? What is not?

When we design products, we aim to choose the best position for user interface components, placing the most important ones in the most evident and accessible places within the screen. Equally important is the design of communication. How many are notifications are necessary? How and when should they be displayed? To solve this, we can be inspired by the principles of calm technology.1

Principles of Calm Technology

I. Technology should require the smallest amount of our attention.
Technology can communicate, but doesn’t need to speak.
Create ambient awareness through different senses.
Communicate information without taking the wearer out of their environment or task.

II. Technology should inform and encalm.
A person's primary task should not be computing, but being human.
Give people what they need to solve their problem, and nothing more.

III. Technology should make use of the periphery.
A calm technology will move easily from the periphery of our attention, to the center, and back.
The periphery is informing without overburdening.

IV. Amplify the best of technology and the best of humanity.
Design for people first.
Machines shouldn't act like humans.
Humans shouldn't act like machines.
Amplify the best part of each.

Examples

Tea Kettle
If a technology works well, we can ignore it most of the time. A teapot tells us when it is ready, and is off or quiet the rest of the time. A tea kettle can be set and forgotten, until it sings. It does not draw constant attention to itself until necessary. A tea kettle's whistle brings information from another room to one's attention.

Inner Office Window
An inner office window provides an understanding of whether someone is busy or not without the need to interrupt them.

Jawbone Up
The Jawbone Up has a single button and a colored status light. The device can be set to buzz after a short nap or at the optimium sleep cycle for a good night of sleep. It counts movement in the background without requiring additional action from the wearer. The device syncs to the user's phone through the audio jack and gives a summary of the wearer's individual day in sleep and physical activity.

Lavatory Sign
This simple sign tells you whether the lavatory is occupied or not. No need to translate it into multiple languges. The simple icon is either occupied or not.

Roomba Vacuum Cleaner
The humble Roomba Vacuum cleaner chirps happily when it is done and emits a sad tone when it is stuck. There is no uncanny valley present in this technology. Roomba doesn't have a spoken language, just simple tones. This makes it easy to understand what Roomba is saying, and elimates the need to translate the tone into many different languages.

Sleep Cycle
Sleep Cycle is a mobile application that monitors your sleep and allows you to track times of deep sleep and REM. You can set an alarm in the app and Sleep Cycle will wake you up before the time at the best place in your sleep cycle with a soft noise or buzz. Because the haptic alert occurs under your pillow, you can configure it so that you can wake up without anyone else being affected by the alarm.

Smart Badge
A smart badge is simple. Smart badges are small, wearable technologies that don't require a charger, user interface or operating system. Simply touch a provisioned smart badge to a door or elavator panel and you'll easily gain access.

Calm Communication

Haptic Alert
Use haptics or touch to inform someone of important information. Many people set their phones to buzz, but other products such as the LUMOBack Smart Posture Sensor buzzes you when you exhibit poor posture. Touch is a high resolution of human sensation. A lot of information can be conveyed with no visual or auditory requirement.

Trend Graph
A good trend graph is all about making the formerly invisible visible. The Sleep Cycle app graphs sleep over time, compressing that long term data into an easily accessible format. Be patient: good data may a long time to collect, but it is well worth the wait! Displaying data in a elegant way is one of the most important aspects of trend graphs. Elegance is about information and comprehension, not just visual appearance.

Status Light
Status lights are farily common on video cameras. A device is active when the red 'record' light is on. Status lights can be used for more than just recording. Our daily travels are mediated by the simple colors of traffic lights. A light that shows the weather is far more calm than a weather ssystem that constantly calls attention to itself. Think about how to use different colors of light to inform and encalm in your products.

Status Tone
A status tone is a quick way for a device to let a person know whether it needs attention or not. Products that have a positive tones upon completion, or negative tones when stuck are more likely to be helped by their human owners.

Status Shout
A Status Shout is similar to a Status Tone but can be much louder and more urgent. Smoke alarms, tea kettles and microwaves all use shouts to alert people to their status. Ambulances use Status Shouts to alert people to make way for an emergency. Tornado warnings utilize Status Shouts to help neighborhoods get to a safe place and out of the tornado's path. Status Shouts should be reserved for very important information.

Popup
Popup alerts are perhaps the most common form of alert, but they can quickly overwhelm people when not used correctly. Alerts should be used when deleting a piece of content, for an emergency, or when someone has specifically opted into a piece of content or stream. Otherwise, try to think of ways to alert a person using the other senses.

Timed Trigger
A simple status light on a timer can make for a calm and informative notifier. An orange light that turns on at sundown or reminds you to brush your teeth.

Delay
Use a delay or interrupt during a change of state. For example, when the headphones of an iPhone become disconnected, the music player automatically pauses the music."
technology  design  ux  ui  teakettles  calm  calmtechnology  via:alexismadrigal  slow  communication  calmcommunication  haptics  ambientintimacy  ambient  roomba  jawbone  windows  glanceable  attention  humanism  periphery  information  chrisdancy  ambercase 
november 2014 by robertogreco
My Synesthesia Types | Synesthesia & Such
"Hello everyone! I decided that it was time to make a post about my synesthesia types. Many synesthetes will have many types of synesthesia, and I am one of them! I have 5 types (that I know of) (EDIT) : I have discovered that I have 6 (SECOND EDIT) : I may have a 7th type (THIRD EDIT) : I have a 8th type (FOURTH EDIT): I have 9 types , and some of them are weaker than the others. I don’t know if I have others, since I only just discovered I have synesthesia about nine or ten days ago. I won’t write too much about my types, since I will be doing separate posts for pretty much every type of synesthesia and I’ll explain them more in depth later.

Grapheme-color (numbers-colors, letters-colors)

My grapheme-color synesthesia is probably my weakest type. Only 7 letters have colors, and only the numbers 0 to 9, and 17 have a color. For the other numbers, they have a color, but I need to focus to pinpoint them. As you can see for my letters, they have kind of weird colors (the letter m isn’t that exact shade, and the c has a bit more of a turquoise tint to it). My z is kind of like a ‘moving’ rainbow. My numbers can be yellow, white or a dark blue.

Spatial sequence (days of the week, dates and memories)

My spatial sequence is with the days of the week, but also the way I remember my memories. It’s as if I’m… reaching into files that are interconnected… I’ll ‘jump’ from memory to memory… like actually jump in my head. All the memories (and years and dates I have to remember for history) are connected in some tiny way that only makes sense to me, and that has always helped me remember things.

Ordinal-linguistic personification (OLP) (numbers-personalities)

Pretty much every number has a personality, although most of them are really ‘faint’. And my personalities are simple; the numbers are either neutral, good or bad. They have some ‘degrees’ of good or bad, for example 7 is a really bad number, any irrational number too. 17 is the best, and that makes it my favorite number. None of my letters have personalities.

Mirror-touch (touch, pain and emotions)

My mirror-touch synesthesia, even though it’s a bit weak, it’s way more present in my life, and I now notice it way more. When somebody gets touched, I can feel kind of a tickle. Sometimes I won’t notice it, since it’s a part of my life. When I’m watching a horror movie (I only watched one in all my life and HATED it), I’m always so tense sand I don’t feel good at all. When somebody gets hurt, I’ll feel an extreme discomfort in that place in my body, and I noticed that I always need to shake it to get the feeling out of my body. Mirro-touch also affects my empathy. I always over-empathize! It’s just ridicule!

Ticker-tape (English and French)

Even though it sounds weird, Ticker-tape synesthesia is actually my ‘favorite’ synesthesia. And, it’s also my ‘strongest’. I love it, since it helps me remember things better. Since it’s a rare type of synesthesia, it’s not really well know. Well, basically, when somebody talks, I see ‘subtitles’ of the words they are speaking. It can get annoying when either I just don’t want to listen to someone, or that TOO MANY PEOPLE ARE TALKING AT THE SAME TIME. When too many people are talking at the same time, I’m like : asdfghjkl; and my ticker-tape goes WILD, and I have a hard time concentrating on one of the conversations.

I love my synesthesia. Pretty much any synesthete will tell you that. It can sometimes bug me a little, but most of the time, it helps me! I wish everyone could experience it!

If you have any questions, leave them in the comments below!

(EDIT): I have discovered that I have a sixth type of synesthesia; mirror-emotion. It’s similar to mirror-touch, except… you guessed it…. with emotions! I’d say this type is as strong, if not stronger, than my ticker-tape synesthesia.

(SECOND EDIT) : New type : Mirror-sound.

(THIRD EDIT) : ANOTHER new type : Mirror-kinetics

(FOURTH EDIT) : I have nine types, since mirror-touch and mirror-pain aren’t the same"
synesthesia  via:alexismadrigal  2013 
september 2014 by robertogreco
Delaware becomes first state to give executors broad digital assets access | Ars Technica
"Delaware has become the first state in the US to enact a law that ensures families’ rights to access the digital assets of loved ones during incapacitation or after death.
Last week, Gov. Jack Markell signed House Bill (HB) 345, “Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets and Digital Accounts Act,” which gives heirs and executors the same authority to take legal control of a digital account or device, just as they would take control of a physical asset or document.

Earlier this year, the Uniform Law Commission, a non-profit group that lobbies to enact model legislations across all jurisdictions in the United States, adopted its Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act (UFADAA). Delaware is the first state to take the UFADAA and turn it into a bona fide law.

While some states, including Idaho and Nevada, have some existing provisions pertaining to limited digital assets for heirs, they are not as broad as the new Delaware law. For now, the state's version of UFADAA only applies to residents of Delaware, one of the smallest states by population and land area. If other states don’t follow suit soon, people creating family trusts could conceivably use this Delaware law to their advantage, even without residing in Delaware. However, even though many tech companies (including Twitter, Facebook, and Google) are incorporated there, they will not be affected by the new law."
delaware  law  legal  digital  death  2014  via:alexismadrigal  legacy 
august 2014 by robertogreco
The art and science of whispering - Radiotonic - ABC Radio National (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)
"Autonomous sensory meridian response, or ASMR, is the name of both the tingling sensation we feel when listening to whispering and other high frequency noises and the online community devoted to it. Belinda Lopez enters a world of whispers and scientific curiosity."
via:alexismadrigal  whispering  sound  belindalopez  science  senses  audio  youtube  speech  2014 
august 2014 by robertogreco
Awesome fish cannon shoots salmon safely over dams
"One company is using fish cannons to safely get migrating fish through man-made obstacles. Salmon are curious creatures going from the saltwater ocean to travel hundreds of miles up freshwater rivers and streams to return to where they were born to spawn. Along the way, the salmon navigate through some serious obstacles with head-scratching amazement, but occasionally run into dams and other obstacles they can’t get around or over and that is where the Whooshh Innovations fish cannon can help."
via:alexismadrigal  salmon  fish  dams  2014 
august 2014 by robertogreco
We’re a Zambian Band—Vol. 2, No. 3—The Appendix
"I first heard the Witch in 2008, via an mp3 blog dedicated to obscure African sounds. The music was incendiary, all crystalline guitar lines and supple rhythms, topped by Jagari’s plaintive voice. The recordings were rife with the pop and hiss of old vinyl; sometimes the music hiccupped, slurring for a moment. This only intensified the thrill of discovery. I found a few more bootlegs online, which confirmed my initial impression: something special went down in Zambia in the 1970s."
music  zambia  via:alexismadrigal  2014  africa  1970s  witch  chrisasmith 
august 2014 by robertogreco
Raspberry Pi Compute Module: new product! | Raspberry Pi
"The compute module contains the guts of a Raspberry Pi (the BCM2835 processor and 512Mbyte of RAM) as well as a 4Gbyte eMMC Flash device (which is the equivalent of the SD card in the Pi). This is all integrated on to a small 67.6x30mm board which fits into a standard DDR2 SODIMM connector (the same type of connector as used for laptop memory*). The Flash memory is connected directly to the processor on the board, but the remaining processor interfaces are available to the user via the connector pins. You get the full flexibility of the BCM2835 SoC (which means that many more GPIOs and interfaces are available as compared to the Raspberry Pi), and designing the module into a custom system should be relatively straightforward as we’ve put all the tricky bits onto the module itself.

So what you are seeing here is a Raspberry Pi shrunk down to fit on a SODIMM with onboard memory, whose connectors you can customise for your own needs.

The Compute Module is primarily designed for those who are going to create their own PCB. However, we are also launching something called the Compute Module IO Board to help designers get started.

The Compute Module IO Board is a simple, open-source breakout board that you can plug a Compute Module into. It provides the necessary power to the module, and gives you the ability to program the module’s Flash memory, access the processor interfaces in a slightly more friendly fashion (pin headers and flexi connectors, much like the Pi) and provides the necessary HDMI and USB connectors so that you have an entire system that can boot Raspbian (or the OS of your choice). This board provides both a starting template for those who want to design with the Compute Module, and a quick way to start experimenting with the hardware and building and testing a system before going to the expense of fabricating a custom board.

Initially, the Compute Module and IO Board will be available to buy together as the Raspberry Pi Compute Module Development Kit.

These kits will be available from RS and element14 some time in June. Shortly after that the Compute Module will be available to buy separately, with a unit cost of around $30 in batches of 100; you will also be able to buy them individually, but the price will be slightly higher. The Raspberry Pi Foundation is a charity, and as with everything we make here, all profits are pushed straight back into educating kids in computing."

[See also: http://www.fastcompany.com/3033850/most-creative-people/whats-next-for-raspberry-pi-the-35-computer-powering-hardware-innovatio ]
raspberrypi  diy  microcontrollers  via:alexismadrigal  computing  internetofthings  iot 
august 2014 by robertogreco
Robotic Raptors to the Rescue | Audubon Magazine
"3-D printed robotic replicas of the eagles and falcons may actually save flocks of smaller birds from harm. Here's how."
birds  animals  robots  2014  via:alexismadrigal 
august 2014 by robertogreco
BBC News - How much science is there in new Planet of the Apes film?
"So what did this top primatologist think of the new instalment in the Planet of the Apes franchise?

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, which goes on release in the US on Friday, is a bold sequel to the 2011 re-boot. That movie - Rise of the Planet of the Apes - saw a group of genetically modified primates revolt against their human masters.

The new film continues the story of that rebellion's instigator, an intelligent chimpanzee by the name of Caesar, but picks up his story after a manmade virus has devastated the human population. Amid the rubble of our civilisation, the apes are pitted against surviving pockets of Homo sapiens in a battle for mastery of the planet.

Prof de Waal calls the storyline "impressive", adding: "I'm not usually into action films like this one, but this held my attention.

"The apes are very humanised: They walk on two legs, they talk - somewhat - they shed tears. In real life, apes do a lot of crying and screaming, but they don't produce tears like we do."

However, other aspects of ape behaviour in the film, he says, are true to life.

"We know chimpanzees are aggressive and territorial - they wage war. The use of tools and weapons is also a possibility," he explains.

To quote a colleague in his field, he said: "If you gave guns to chimps, they would use them."

The primatologist says the reconciliation following a fight between Caesar and Koba - a bonobo character in the film - rang true in terms of ape interactions. He says he also recognised real-life behaviour in a scene where the apes are seen bowing before their appointed leader.

In real groups, Prof de Waal says, "when an alpha male makes an appearance, the other apes grovel and make themselves appear small".



"If the studio were to make another instalment, Prof de Waal says he would advise the filmmakers to include more female and juvenile ape characters, to give a sense of real group dynamics among the animals. In the wild, gorilla and orang males rarely co-operate, as they do in the film, though this is more likely for chimps.

But he praises the film's "astonishing" visual effects, which leads us on to an issue that exercises the professor - the welfare of primates in entertainment.

Prof de Waal strongly opposes the use of real primate actors in advertising, film and television, and comments that Dawn of the Planet of the Apes' realistic depictions of apes using computer technology alone proves that the industry has no need for the genuine article.

"I hope the practice disappears completely," he tells me.

"The first Planet of the Apes movie raised some philosophical issues: What are the ethics of keeping humans in a cage? Which is a reversal of the issue we are faced with now: What are the ethics of keeping an ape in a cage?"

So if apes really did usurp humans as the dominant group on the planet, what does de Waal think it would be like with chimps, bonobos, gorillas and orangs at the top of the pecking order?

"Hmmm," he replies, pausing for a moment. "I'm not an optimist in that regard. The male chimpanzee is very aggressive. I'm not sure they would be angels of peace, as Caesar is in this movie.

"The bonobo would be a more peaceful character - they do not wage war on other groups as chimpanzees do. These groups have even been shown to mingle in the wild on occasion."

"It would be more like Woodstock - and a completely different movie.""
apes  chimpanzees  primates  planetoftheapes  paulrincon  via:alexismadrigal  2014  fransdewaal  bonobos  orangutans  ethics  fiction  filmmaking  behavior  tools  aggression 
july 2014 by robertogreco
Relingos | The Brooklyn Quarterly
"Spaces survive the passage of time in the same way a person survives his death: in the close alliance between the memory and the imagination that others forge around it. They exist as long as we keep thinking of them, imagining in them; as long as we remember them, remember ourselves there, and, above all, as long as we remember what we imagined in them. A relingo—an emptiness, an absence—is a sort of depository for possibilities, a place that can be seized by the imagination and inhabited by our ­phantom-follies. Cities need those vacant lots, those silent gaps where the mind can wander freely."



"We Buy Old Books

Cities have often been compared to language: you can read a city, it’s said, as you read a book. But the metaphor can be inverted.

[painting of plan of Mexico City]

The journeys we make during the reading of a book trace out, in some way, the private spaces we inhabit. There are texts that will always be our dead-end streets; fragments that will be bridges; words that will be like the scaffolding that protects fragile constructions. T. S. Eliot: a plant growing in the debris of a ruined building; Salvador Novo: a tree-lined street transformed into an expressway; Tomás Segovia: a boulevard, a breath of air; Roberto Bolaño: a rooftop terrace; Isabel Allende: a (magically real) shopping mall; Gilles Deleuze: a summit; and Jacques Derrida: a pothole. Robert Walser: a chink in the wall, for looking through to the other side; Charles Baudelaire: a waiting room; Hannah Arendt: a tower, an Archimedean point; Martin Heidegger: a cul-de-sac; Walter ­Benjamin: a one-way street walked down against the flow.

And everything we haven’t read: relingos, absences in the heart of the city.

Guaranteed Repairs

Restoration: plastering over the cracks left on any surface by the erosion of time.
Sidewalks

Writing: an inverse process of restoration. A restorer fills the holes in a surface on which a more or less finished image already exists; a writer starts from the fissures and the holes. In this sense, an architect and a writer are alike. Writing: filling in relingos.

No, writing isn’t filling gaps—nor is it constructing a house, a building, just to fill up an empty space.

Perhaps Alejandro Zambra’s bonsai image might come closer: “A writer is a person who rubs out. . . . Cutting, lopping: finding a form that was already there.”

But words are not plants and, in any case, gardens are for the poets with orderly, landscaped hearts. Prose is for those with a builder’s spirit.

Writing: drilling walls, breaking windows, blowing up buildings. Deep excavations to find—to find what? To find nothing.

A writer is a person who distributes silences and empty spaces.

Writing: making relingos."
architecture  cities  design  spaces  space  commonplace  geography  relingos  mexicodf  df  mexico  valerialuisellu  writing  silence  via:alexismadrigal  alejandrozambra  restoration  robertobolaño  tomássegovia  gillesdeleuze  jacquesderrida  baudelaire  heidegger  hannaharendt  robertwalser  tseliot  slavadornono  walterbenjamin  emptiness  absence  possibility  possibilities  imagination  urban  urbanism  deleuze  mexicocity 
july 2014 by robertogreco
Databending using Audacity Effects | Question Something
"When pursuing the wonderful practice of databending I think that experimentation is all important. Discovering new ways to do things is a key element to the entire experience. But I also know that without tutorials from Antonio Roberts (HelloCatFood) and Stallio (AnimalsWithinAnimals) I wouldn’t have taken the steps to really engage in the subject. They acted as a gateway for me to try new things and experiment with other ideas.

If you’ve never encountered it before, I highly recommend checking out Antonio Roberts’ tutorial on databending with Audacity, which can be found here.

If you’ve never heard of Audacity, then here is the website. It’s a free audio editing program with tools to cut and paste sound and to add effects, but it can also be so much more. With just the touch of a few buttons it can take an image and corrupt its form to create something entirely new – and the process is fascinating.

Following Antonio’s tutorial, you can trick Audacity in to opening an image file as a sound. Not only does this give you a sound wave which you can manipulate and bend to your will, but a lot of files sound pretty funky. A bit like if you put a Decepticon in a blender with a couple of R2 droids.

The easiest way to manipulate a file in Audacity is to select a section of the file and apply one of the built in sound effects to it. Now I’m no computing whizz kid but the way I see it when you apply a sound effect to a sound file, the program takes that file and alters the file data in the manner which it’s been told will achieve that effect. So, for example, if you were to apply an echo effect then it would repeat parts of the file, diminishing the repetition after each iteration. The wonderful thing is that it will do this regardless of what the file actually is. Audacity doesn’t know or care whether the file is a sound or not, it will alter it in the manner instructed.

When applied to an image… Well let me show you."

[Also on Tumblr: http://questionsomething.tumblr.com/post/28024632720/databending-using-audacity-effects ]
audacity  sound  audio  glitchart  images  imageediting  art  soundeffects  via:alexismadrigal  jamieboulton  digital  digitalfiles  filetype  antonioroberts  2012 
july 2014 by robertogreco
'Grid Meets the Hills' shows terrain shaping S.F. - SFGate
"To the extent that the phrase rings any sort of bell, "urban events" may bring to mind visions of a flash mob, a street fair or a parade with corporate sponsors.

In San Francisco, it also can mean those spots where topography and real estate collide - the seductive disruptions that in turn embody what this city has come to be.

Contentious friction absorbed by the whole, again and again and again.

This is a roundabout introduction to the best book on San Francisco I've read in years, Florence Lipsky's "San Francisco: The Grid Meets the Hills." A French architect, Lipsky uses historical maps and her own eye-popping cartography images to show how surveyors and planners tackled the steep-hilled reality of our peninsula terrain. Beyond that, she explores how the lay of the land alters not just what we see, but how we see.

"Nature and Architecture blend to compose a city that is alternately triumphant, modest and familiar," Lipsky writes. "San Francisco's identity resides more in the ebb and flow of its streets than in the Transamerica Tower. ... More in its spaces than the volumes that define them.""
books  history  sanfrancisco  hills  geography  topography  planning  urban  urbanism  design  architecture  maps  mapping  florencelipsky  1999  terrain  terraforming  terrainshaping  via:alexismadrigal 
july 2014 by robertogreco
From A to B
"What happens when you send something by mail? What happens in between you sending it off and someone else receiving it? What people and processes are involved and how many steps does it take?
 
Those all were questions I was dealing with and wanted to find out. So instead of sitting back I started a simple project to actually see it myself. I put a small camera in a box, build a timer circuit using Arduino and shipped it.
 
That's as simple as it is. The timer circuit was set to make a 3 sec video every minute and make longer videos while the box was moving: to not miss on the 'interesting' parts."
shipping  systems  systemsthinking  timelapse  arduino  2014  cameras  mail  packages  distribution  via:alexismadrigal  rubenvandervleuten 
july 2014 by robertogreco
Logistical Fictions
"Indexing the fictional designs and devices—the bills, parts lists, maps, catalogues, and containers—of imagined logistical operations and infrastructures."
tumblr  via:alexismadrigal  logistics  infrastructure  fiction  design 
may 2014 by robertogreco
SFMTA Photo Archive
"San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency Archives

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) Photographic Archive is a living archive, as well as a visual history of the city’s public transportation history dating back to the early 20th Century. Our mission is to preserve and digitize this vast collection of photographs taken by Muni and Market Street Railway photographers and includes a wide assortment of glass plate, nitrate and acetate negatives, as well as one-of-a-kind prints. These amazing images tell the story of San Francisco, its transition from a stretch of sand dunes to an internationally acclaimed city, it's rise from the rubble of the devastating earthquake of 1906 and the vital role public transportation played and continues to play in revitalizing the city. We look forward to sharing these compelling images with you and hope that you enjoy them as much as we do."
via:alexismadrigal  sanfrancisco  archives  hitroy  photography  transportation  sfmta 
march 2014 by robertogreco
Victorian Occultism and the Art of Synesthesia | The Public Domain Review
"Grounded in the theory that ideas, emotions, and even events, can manifest as visible auras, Annie Besant and Charles Leadbeater’s Thought-Forms (1901) is an odd and intriguing work. Benjamin Breen explores these “synesthetic” abstractions and asks to what extent they, and the Victorian mysticism of which they were born, influenced the Modernist movement that flourished in the following decades."



"These sorts of underlying associations between words, colors and sounds were precisely what motivated Thought-Forms. In other words, the book was about synesthesia. The illustration of the music of Mendelssohn reproduced above, for instance, depicts yellow, red, blue and green lines rising out of a church. This, Leadbeater and Besant explain, “signifies the movement of one of the parts of the melody, the four moving approximately together denoting the treble, alto, tenor and bass respectively.” Moreover, “the scalloped edging surrounding the whole is the result of various flourishes and arpeggios, and the floating crescents in the centre represent isolated or staccato chords.” Color and sound had become commingled.

Yet Leadbeater and Besant intended not only to visualize sound, but to demonstrate their distinctive psychic gifts: the ability to detect spiritual “vibrations” of ideas, emotions and sounds as visual forms. This, in other words, was a sort of spiritual synesthesia, as much a religious act as a neurological one."
synesthesia  art  history  occult  religion  anniebesant  charlesleadbeater  benjaminbreen  mysticism  modernism  belief  color  sound  perception  via:alexismadrigal 
march 2014 by robertogreco
Research : BirdCast
"BirdCast will allow, for the first time, real-time predictions of bird migrations: when they migrate, where they migrate, and how far they will be flying.

Knowledge of migratory behavior will aid conservation on the ground by informing decisions for placement of wind turbines and identifying nights on which lighting of tall buildings could be reduced to prevent the deaths of millions of birds. Accurate migration models also have broader application, allowing researchers to understand behavioral aspects of migration, how migration timing and pathways respond to changing climate, and whether linkages exist between variation in migration timing and subsequent changes in population size.

New Machine-learning Techniques
We propose to develop two innovative machine-learning techniques: Collective Graphical Models (CGMs) and Semi-Parametric Latent Process Models (SLPMs). When combined, these models will reconstruct and predict the behavior of ~400 species of migrating birds across North America. The resulting model will be able to identify the complex conditions governing the dynamics of migration behavior, including choice of migratory pathways, the factors that influence when birds migrate, and the speed and duration of each night’s movements. In addition, we will improve our machine learning methods for identifying bird species from their flight calls (unique calls given by each species during nocturnal migration).

New Data Infrastructure
We will develop a new interoperable data infrastructure for synthesizing bird observations, flight calls, radar data, and covariate data from multiple sources including satellite imagery, weather, and human population data. By the end of the grant period, we will provide daily forecasts of bird migration (a daily BirdCast), as well as interactive tools for visualizing and understanding the models. We will also provide general-purpose open-source implementations of CGMs and SLPMs.

New Data Visualizations
Finally, we will develop novel web-based data visualizations for communicating the migration predictions generated by BirdCast to the general public, resulting in a strong potential for outreach and education, with opportunities for informal education regarding computer science, ecology, and conservation. These same visualization tools will provide an appealing avenue for school classes and the general public to “see” the dynamic processes of bird migration in action, strengthening their connection to the natural world. Further, by integrating these applications into existing education and outreach activities already managed by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, we can introduce vast new audiences to exciting and important advances in computer science."
via:alexismadrigal  birds  animals  nature  migration  predictions  birdcast  science 
march 2014 by robertogreco
U B U W E B - Film & Video: Karlheinz Stockhausen - Helicopter String Quartet (1995)
"Dedicated to all astronauts, Helicopter String Quartet was composed for a very classical formation, the string quartet, in a very unusual setting: four players in four different flying helicopters, synchronized by means of voice signals and click marks. Stockhausen once had a dream. He was at some high-class party where he didn't feel welcome, and he just wanted to fly away from there. He suddenly starts flying in the air and through the objects, performing an elegant flight that mesmerizes the tuxedo-clad party guests who had snubbed him before. This was, the composer says, the very origin of this controversial piece. And throughout this fascinating documentary we see Stockhausen joyfully narrating the many signs, premonitions and supra-rational events that lead him to compose the piece. Many ideas merge in Helicopter: the dream of flying, music as a flying object, the double goal of translating the helicopter floating pitches into a score and integrating them in the recording, or the spiritual connotation of the flight. There is an overt spiritual quest in Stockhausen's composition, but this modern mystic must come to terns with his earthly dimension and become entangled in the mundane details of material reality in order to achieve an approximate translation of his dream. We thus are presented with a sample of the painstakingly meticulous rehearsals with the Arditti String Quartet and the immense technical challenges posed by the extravagant idea of putting four musicians playing together in four different helicopters. Stockhausen's joie de vivre and childish enthusiasm is evident throughout the film. There is, however, a key moment in the film in which the composer betrays an enormous inner angst: asked, during the dress rehearsal, to compare his dream to its practical fulfillment, Stockhausen doesn't fail to notice the obvious contrast between the freedom he felt in his dream and the heavy burden of technical and practical issues that surround him and somehow keep him from enjoying the moment. A grimace of sad resignation is then briefly allowed to take over his face. This is perhaps one of the strongest points about Scheffer's film: more than a simple documentary about an unusual avantgarde performance, fascinating as it may be, it is also a narrative about a man driven by messages from the unconscious, sticking to his vision by means of premonitions and rigorous hard work, but finally recognizing the vacuity and failure inherent in his attempt to make his dream come true. -- Eye of Sound"
via:alexismadrigal  art  music  helicopters  performance  1995  frankscheffer 
february 2014 by robertogreco

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