Archive for March, 2008

honeywell-drone.jpg After booby drones will be going to work in the UK (a country known for ten thousands of CCTV cameras and for sporting speakers and microphones in public spaces), the US cops are employing them no as well. To make them palpable to the public, big brother is introducing them with the usual propaganda, like wanting to use them in “urban areas with an eye toward full-fledged employment in crime fighting” and having them in service only in “tactical situations as an extra set of eyes.” Sure. We have manned flying machines already generating speeding fines and helping to sustain the terrorist hysteria – why wouldn’t the State want to save wages when it does everywhere else in this economic-rationalist and increasing surveillance oriented world? Won’t be long, and we’ll have them here as well, snooping on us wherever we are.

[see also Engadget and Reuters]

Thanks to the New Scientist and Engadget we can get a pretty good idea of what NASA’s new Chariot lunar vehicle can do. Just think of the lunar landscapes mining and deforesting operations create here on Earth and you’ll get the picture. Fortunately there are no trees on the moon and the landscape is lunar already, but that might make us even more careless and violently creative than we are here on Earth – especially with the US planning to be at work there. As you can see for yourself, the rig certainly looks to be quite capable of tearing it up on the lunar surface, with its plough, a drill and a back hoe being ready for setting up the first moon base (or other potential lunar installations, some of them peaceful while others won’t be). Military installations certainly will have priority, and the future does not look peaceful with laser cannons already planned, even though this one still looks harmless.

ymessenger.pngMac OS X only: The latest beta 3 release of Yahoo Messenger for Mac adds voice and voicemail capabilities ala Skype. Using Yahoo Messenger, computer to computer voice calls are free, and you can purchase a PhoneOut and/or PhoneIn account to call land line or cell phones, or receive calls on your computer, or even set up call forwarding to land lines or mobile phones. (Rates start at 1 cent/minute in the U.S.) You can also send SMS messages with Yahoo Messenger, and get free voicemail; Y Messenger delivers voicemail as an email attachment to the address you specify. Skype’s had all these features for Mac and PC for some time now, so Yahoo’s pretty late to the game—but still good to have options.

[via Lifehacker]


Gina Trapani on Lifehacker suggests using some free software to synch folders either on your network or, like with FolderShare, even over the Internet. Lifehacker found quite a few uses for the application, from maintaining a consistent workspace, to syncing your Firefox extensions and Greasemonkey scripts between computers; Gina also explains at great length the installation process, which seems to be pretty straight forward. FolderShare is available for Windows and Mac.


Antarctica’s massive Wilkins Ice Shelf has continued to disintegrate under the effects of global warming. The collapse of a substantial section of the shelf was triggered on 28 February when an iceberg measuring 41km by 2.4km broke off its southwestern front. That movement led to disintegration of the shelf’s interior, of which 414km.sq have already disappeared.

Satellite images show the sudden disintegration of a 160-square-mile chunk in western Antarctica, according to a press release from the University of Colorado’s National Snow and Ice Data Center and an AP report of the ice shelf breakup. The only thing now connecting the Wilkins Ice Shelf to the Antarctic mainland is a thin “buttress” of ice.

The Wilkins Ice Shelf is a broad plate of permanent floating ice 1,609km south of South America, on the southwest Antarctic Peninsula. Now, as a result of recent losses, a large part of the 12,950km.sq shelf is supported by a narrow 5.6km strip of ice between two islands. ‘Wilkins is the largest ice shelf on west Antarctica yet to be threatened. This shelf is hanging by a thread,’ said a scientist from the British Antarctic Survey.

A researcher in the area described the ice collapse for Science Daily: “I’ve never seen anything like this before — it was awesome. Big hefty chunks of ice, the size of small houses, look as though they’ve been thrown around like rubble — it’s like an explosion.” BBC coverage of the ice shelf includes a video flyover of the massive, now-seafaring ice chunks.

Antarctica has suffered unprecedented warming in the last 50 years, with several ice shelves retreating and six of them collapsing since the 1970s. A 1,000-square-kilometer chunk broke off of the Wilkins shelf in 1998. In 2002, a larger collapse took out 3,200 square kilometers of the Larsen B ice shelf. Over the past half century, the western Antarctic Peninsula has experienced the steepest temperature increase on Earth: 0.5 degrees Celsius per decade.

Melting ice shelves do not raise the worldwide sea level, because this ice is already floating on the ocean. However, the Antarctic ice shelves are the leading edges of land-based glaciers behind them. If the glaciers behind them start moving into the sea more quickly, that will have an impact on sea levels.

[via Wired Science]

google3.jpgGoogle has recommended a no vote against two shareholder proposals to be put to their annual general meeting May 8 that relate to free speech and human rights.

Proposal 4 comes from the The Office of the Comptroller of New York City and St. Scholastica Monastery. The Office of the Comptroller of New York City is the custodian and trustee of the Retirement System of NYC Teachers, Police, Fire Department and Education System. Resolution 5 comes from Harrington Investments and calls for a Google Board Committee on Human Rights. Google, the company who does no evil of course sees money as being above good and evil and therefore can’t understand what the fuss about human rights is all about.

[for the full text of both resolutions see TechCrunch]

New Diesel OLED watches

Posted: March 26, 2008 in creativity
Tags: ,


Diesel released a couple of timepieces featuring OLED. With their more traditional look they certainly aren’t as futuristic as last year’s models, but I don’t mind the one where you can actually read the digits without a magnifying glass – although, maybe you can choose not to have the animations obscure your view. The DZ7076 and DZ7086 both tout a genuine leather strap and of course the Diesel logo, which I could do without except …. The DZ7076 will set you back US$120, the animated DZ7086 will demand an extra US$30 – on ebay though I just saw DZ7076 for US$ 82. Hmmm …
[via Engadget]

My Name is Lisa

Posted: March 26, 2008 in creativity

Last year I posted a YouTube clip called Black Button, an Australian short film. Today I found out, thanks to my firend Harry’s blog, that it became one of the finalists in the short film section of the 2007 YouTube Video Awards. Harry also posted the winner – see above.

Kris Kuksi

Posted: March 26, 2008 in creativity

Kris Kuksi

Kris Kuksi was born March 2, 1973, in Springfield Missouri and growing up in neighbouring Kansas, he spent his youth in rural seclusion and isolation along with a blue-collar, working mother, two much-older brothers and an absent father. According the the Kris Kuksi website, open country, sparse trees, and alcoholic stepfather, perhaps paved the way for an individual saturated in imagination and introversion. His fascination with the unusual led to his macabre art later in life. The grotesque to him, as it seemed, was beautiful.

Skullwhip Scorpion (because Kris Kuksi’s work is best viewed in its detail, click on the hyperlink)

Reaching adulthood his art blossomed and created a breakthrough of personal freedom from the negative environment experienced during his youth. He soon discovered his distaste for the typical American life and pop culture, feeling that he has always belonged to the ‘Old World’. Yet, Kris’ work as a painter and sculptor is about a new wilderness, refined and elevated, visualised as a cultivation emerging from the corrupt and demoralized fall of modern-day society. He feels that in the world today, much of mankind is oftentimes a frivolous and fragile being driven primarily by greed and materialism, and he with his art he wants to expose the fallacies of man and womankind, unveiling a new level of awareness to the viewer of politics, war, famine, and discrimination.

The Deadly Sins (because Kris Kuksi’s work is best viewed in its detail, click on the hyperlink)

In he says: “My art represents the aggression that I have within me. My feelings about society, relationships, religion, politics, etc”. At the same time he does not only see and bring to to life the inappropriate and fragile but also the unnoticed beauty, his “the love for those things of beauty and harmony.” In fact, nature is his biggest inspiration, “the symmetry, anatomy and designs of living and non-living forms”. At the same time though he is “also inspired by the visual interest in architecture, such as Baroque and Gothic structures, and industrial buildings such as refineries”. And as far as subjects are concerned, it is “mankind and the human experience” that move him to create.

Reclining Nude (because Kris Kuksi’s work is best viewed in its detail, click on the hyperlink)

In his biography, Kris is quoted as saying that he believes “not in the Devil but in demons in the mind that create the real Hell of mental anguish, suffering, and guilt which inevitably manifests the turmoil of humanity”, which confirms that he has no religious beliefs but is a very spiritual person. Again, in he says: “Hell as described in the bible is just like what exists in the world today, the human mind creates this world and humans are what keep it a reality. If we could see that all suffering is because of the bad beliefs and prejudices in our minds, the world would be different. Maybe I am here in this world to depict these feelings through my art.”

Expecting to Fly (because Kris Kuksi’s work is best viewed in its detail, click on the hyperlink)

Here are some more quotes from in which he describes his work: “… Painting is a struggle for me which is good, we all need that. But intuitively I’m a builder and the sculptures satisfy that need.”

“I’m very self-critical and never pat myself on the back, never. I accomplish things very well but I never spend too much time enjoying it. I have to do more, I think that it must be for a grand pinnacle somewhere that I will be at. Maybe it is only to inspire people to change things in this world. Money is nice and it helps to do the next big thing, but I do this out of selfless motives. I’m proud of the work but I know that I always have to continue making it and getting better. I’m in a prison so to speak, I am one who won’t enjoy a nice married life with children. I won’t enjoy a relaxing vacation in the Bahamas. I have to be getting this stuff out. I’d say I’m like the old cliché of walking the fine line of madness.”

Lust and Self Abuse (because Kris Kuksi’s work is best viewed in its detail, click on the hyperlink)

“Yes, I’ve gotten a lot more political since Bush has been in office. I’m concerned about it because of what the rest of the world thinks about Americans. I guess I want to let people of other cultures that not all Americans follow Bush’s foot steps so blindly. War is something I am always fascinated with, and it has been a part of human history from early man. I like to probe into this aspect of psychology, and the irrational motives we have that create it. Aggression is something that isn’t exactly inborn in us, but learned. We teach our children to hate and have biases towards other humans of differing beliefs and religions. In turn, it is loyalty that drives one to fight a war.”

Church Tank Type 5A (because Kris Kuksi’s work is best viewed in its detail, click on the hyperlink)

“So here is the future upon us, war is present more than ever. The climate is fragile and changing rapidly. What happens in say 50 years? Scary to think about.

“Yes, dark satire is a perfect way to describe it. I tend to have a dark sense of humour when it comes to life. So many things are dark in our times, it is no wonder so much art is reflecting this. In fact we tend to make fun of how awful things are. But humour is a great way to expose something without coming across as crass.” 

Psychotropic Comparative Anatomy (because Kris Kuksi’s work is best viewed in its detail, click on the hyperlink)

For more of his work, especially his amazing intricate sculpture, go to his website.

Chroniton writes with news of a Silicon Valley company, Luxim, that has developed a tiny, full-spectrum light bulb (check out this video), based on a plasma of argon gas, that gives off as much light as a streetlight while using less power. The Tic Tac-sized bulb operates at temperatures up to 6000K and produces 140 lumens/watt, almost ten times as efficient as standard incandescent lamps, and twice the efficiency of high-end LEDs. The new bulbs also have a lifetime of 20,000 hours. There’s no mention of mercury or other heavy metals, which pose a problem for compact fluorescents.

[from Slashdot]