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Thursday, June 24, 2010

Modern gadgets made in 1977

Modern gadgets made in 1977: "varanese.jpg

Alex Varanese's sunset-hued walnut burl wonderland is a place I'd be happy to spend my evenings. From a blog post announcing his latest trip to the old-school:

This project is undoubtedly my most conceptually ambitious work to date. It comprises 14 full-sized, 18x24' prints that explore the awesomely absurd idea of time travelers who return to the late 1970's to release the technology of 2010 and dominate the world of consumer electronics. I re-imagined four modern products as if they existed over 30 years ago and tried to bring them to life through fake print ads, abstract glamour shots, and even a characteristically pretentious type treatment or two.

It also shows how modern 'retro' gadget designs are often quite half-baked compared to the real (fake) thing. If you're going to go retro, you should either be so good at understanding the timeless that few even notice what you're up to (consider how Apple often channels Braun) or basically do what Alex did here, which is make everything out of wood and spidery LEDs.

Gallery [Behance via Waxy]


Another world is possible, may be kinda stinky.

Bruce Sterling's story about astroturfer gulag: "'s series of science fiction stories about societies built on sharing and sustainability continues, this time with a deeply ambivalent, darkly hilarious story by Bruce Sterling called 'The Exterminator's Want-Ad,' about the special rehab prison that corporate astroturfers are sent to after climate collapse:

Personally, I loved to buy stuff: I admired a consumer society. I sincerely liked to carry out a clean, crisp, commercial transaction: the kind where you simply pay some money for goods and services. I liked driving my SUV to the mall, whipping out my alligator wallet, and buying myself some hard liquor, a steak dinner, and maybe a stripper. All that awful stuff at the Pottery Barn and Banana Republic, when you never knew 'Who the hell was buying that?' That guy was me.

Claire and I hated the sharing networks, because we were paid to hate them. We hated all social networks, like Facebook, because they destroyed the media that we owned. We certainly hated free software, because it was like some ever-growing anti-commercial fungus. We hated search engines and network aggregators, people like Google -- not because Google was evil, but because they weren't. We really hated 'file-sharers' -- the swarming pirates who were chewing up the wealth of our commercial sponsors.

We hated all networks on principle: we even hated power networks. Wind and solar only sorta worked, and were very expensive. We despised green power networks because climate change was a myth. Until the climate actually changed. Then the honchos who paid us started drinking themselves to death.

The Exterminator's Want-Ad



Monday, June 21, 2010

Errol Morris: The Anosognosic’s Dilemma: Something’s Wrong but You’ll Never Know What It Is

Errol Morris: The Anosognosic’s Dilemma: Something’s Wrong but You’ll Never Know What It Is: "In his ongoing series of fascinating NYT essays on the 'influence and uses of photography,' documentary filmmaker Errol Morris interviews David Dunning, co-author of the Dunning-Kruger Effect, which says stupid people are too stupid to realize they are stupid.

Morris opens his piece with the story of attempted bank robber MacArthur Wheeler, who rubbed lemon juice on his face before entering the bank because he believed it would render him invisible to security cameras. 'If Wheeler was too stupid to be a bank robber,' writes Morris, 'perhaps he was also too stupid to know that he was too stupid to be a bank robber — that is, his stupidity protected him from an awareness of his own stupidity.'

DAVID DUNNING: Well, my specialty is decision-making. How well do people make the decisions they have to make in life? And I became very interested in judgments about the self, simply because, well, people tend to say things, whether it be in everyday life or in the lab, that just couldn’t possibly be true. And I became fascinated with that. Not just that people said these positive things about themselves, but they really, really believed them. Which led to my observation: if you’re incompetent, you can’t know you’re incompetent.


DAVID DUNNING: If you knew it, you’d say, “Wait a minute. The decision I just made does not make much sense. I had better go and get some independent advice.” But when you’re incompetent, the skills you need to produce a right answer are exactly the skills you need to recognize what a right answer is. In logical reasoning, in parenting, in management, problem solving, the skills you use to produce the right answer are exactly the same skills you use to evaluate the answer. And so we went on to see if this could possibly be true in many other areas. And to our astonishment, it was very, very true.

The Anosognosic’s Dilemma: Something’s Wrong but You’ll Never Know What It Is (Part 1)