links for 2009-04-20

  • Near-advert for Cisco by BBC with interesting speculation about 'telepresence': "During my face-to-face interview with Mr Chambers we pointedly do not shake hands – because I am in London and he is in San Jose, linked up by a sophisticated bandwidth-hungry system of three huge screens that gives a hyper-real Star Trek-style impression of the two of us sitting at the same table. So far there are only some 550 Telepresence points around the world, but Cisco hopes that companies will be happy to invest in this expensive, no-delay, life-size video conferencing technology. After all, business travel is even more expensive."
  • "IDEO's human factors specialists conceived the deck as a design research tool for its staff and clients, to be used by researchers, designers, and engineers to evaluate and select the empathic research methods that best inform specific design initiatives. The tool can be used in various ways—sorted, browsed, searched, spread out, pinned up—as both information and inspiration to human-centered design teams and individuals at various stages to support planning and execution of design programs."
  • "San Francisco Museum of Modern Art's Gina Basso has curated an incredible science fiction film series that's just started at the museum. The series, titled "The Future of the Past: Utopia/Dystopia, 1965-1984" presents a rich history of cinematic futures: Westworld, Logan's Run, Soylent Green, A Clockwork Orange, Fantastic Planet, Stalker, Alphaville, Sleeper, Fahrenheit 451, and 1984 (the 1984 version). The series is tied to the current special exhibit, "Patterns of Speculation," on the architecture of the J. Mayer H firm"
  • "The Bombe was the brainchild of Alan Turing and Gordon Welchman, and the 210 machines manufactured by the British Tabulator Machine Company did vital work cracking encoded German military traffic – a feat which shortened the war by two years, Bletchley Park suggests. The original devices were destroyed after the war on security grounds, but in 1970 a set of blueprints turned up at Bletchley and the idea to reconstruct a Bombe was born. The rebuild team, led by volunteer John Harper, has finally succeeded in putting the beast together:"
  • Article on 'hacker spaces': "Hacker spaces aren't just growing up in isolation: They're forming networks and linking up with one another in a decentralized, worldwide network. The hackerspaces.org website collects information about current and emerging hacker spaces, and provides information about creating and managing new spaces. There's also lots of information exchanged via IRC and a weekly telephone conference. They even enable extramural exchanges. "It's like an embassy for hackers," says Metalab's Boehm, who has been spending a lot of time at Noisebridge lately while here on a tourist visa. "If you are a member of a hacker space, you can go anywhere in the world. It's like instant family." That welcoming attitude is proving powerfully attractive to many geeks. "I can go to any hacker space anywhere in the world and be welcome there," says Altman. "You could too.""
  • "Black Rain is sourced from images collected by the twin satellite, solar mission, STEREO. Here we see the HI (Heliospheric Imager) visual data as it tracks interplanetary space for solar wind and CME's (coronal mass ejections) heading towards Earth. Data courtesy of courtesy of the Heliospheric Imager on the NASA STEREO mission. Working with STEREO scientists, Semiconductor collected all the HI image data to date, revealing the journey of the satellites from their initial orientation, to their current tracing of the Earth’s orbit around the Sun. Solar wind, CME's, passing planets and comets orbiting the sun can be seen as background stars and the milky way pass by."
  • P. K. Dick's awesome novel is to be made into a comic book series.