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Saturday, July 10, 2010

Erik Davis visits Damanhur's Temples of Humankind

Erik Davis visits Damanhur's Temples of Humankind: "Our pal Erik Davis, author of Techgnosis and Visionary State, is a fantastic tour guide to hot spots of spiritual high weirdness, from UFO cult hangouts to the San Francisco's Vedanta Society Old Temple to Esalen. Erik calls himself a 'spiritual tourist.' The tourist part is important, he explains, because 'serious seekers limit their pilgrimages in ways that the eclectic, omnivorous, and sometimes willfully perverse spiritual tourist does not. I have gotten as much out of tacky roadside shrines and UFO cults as the most charismatic buildings of the A-list faiths. It’s all about perspective. I willfully cut my sacred with profanation, and keep my eyes peeled for sparkling ironies as well as eruptions of the marvelous.'

Last year, Erik visited the Federation of Damanhur, an intentional community just north of Turin in the foothills of the alps, where the residents carved out a labyrinth in the mountain to create their Temples of Humankind. It sounds, and looks, breathtaking. From HiLobrow:
With over six hundred permanent residents, and hundreds of more “citizens” of various grades scattered around Italy and the world, Damanhur possesses an enviable range of quality businesses, workshops, schools, healing centers, and quasi-independent collective homes, all organized according to an innovative governance system notable for its pragmatism and productivity. Damanhur organizes conferences, restores medieval buildings, sells high-end cloth and foodstuffs, and trades goods and services among themselves using their own currency.

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But the community’s on-the-ground success story pales in comparison to what that hole in a mountain became. Over the weeks and years, without much formal training, working at night and with music blaring to cover up the drills, a select crew of Damanhurians hollowed out a series of mighty chambers and passageways, all without other members of the community—to say nothing of the greater world—clueing-in to their secret work. With tenacious devotion and a startling degree of art, they transformed these underground spaces into the Temples of Humankind: a remarkable otherworldly honeycomb of sacred murals, onyx mosaics, stained glass, sculpture, inlaid marble, hidden passageways, precious metals, mirrored stone, alchemical elixirs, and—who knows?—maybe even the cosmic energy circuits, intergalactic portals, and temporal wormholes that the people of Damanhur suggest are the ultimate functions of their sacred architecture.

Erik Davis visits Damanhur (Thanks, Greg Taylor!)


Never-Ending Drawing Machine: collaborative paper computing system

Never-Ending Drawing Machine: collaborative paper computing system: "

At MIT's Center for Future Storytelling, my friend David Robert is co-developing the Never-Ending Drawing Machine, a mixed reality 'paper computing' platform for collaboration. The system enables you to work in a physical notebook and then bring it to the system to share and augment the pages digitally over the network with other people. It's based on Derivative's TouchDesigner software and an Arduino-based physical computing platform. From the project description:
For each page, the system loads the appropriate background content and lets you take a picture and send it back and forth to your friend or collaborator using an identical table somewhere else on the network (co-located or remote). Your collaborator also has an enhanced sketchbook and if it's on the same page each table will see everyone's latest additions.

Participants don't have to be on the same page. The sketchbooks allow non-linear, asynchronous access to the evolving, co-created content with a physical editing interface. It's a cool analog/digital hybrid model that requires no expertise and is fun just to use. Sound may also be recorded - on a blank page for example, and sent to inspire someone else's drawings.

Never-Ending Drawing Machine


Thursday, July 8, 2010

Invisible homeless man

Invisible homeless man: "invishomeless.jpg

World's greatest homeless sign ever (Thanks, Joe Sabia!)


For carbon sequestration to work, containers need to leak less than 1% per millennium

For carbon sequestration to work, containers need to leak less than 1% per millennium: "Carbon sequestration -- pumping the carbon emitted by coal and other 'dirty' power plants underground -- is an attractively macho, big-engineering style solution to climate change. Rather than developing new kinds of power (which might favor new companies and regions) or new patterns of use (which might require effort on the part of individuals), we simply contract with firms who take all our carbon and lock it away underground for millennia. What could be simpler?

Carbon dioxide sequestration isn't a great global warming solution unless we develop less leaky equipment or commit to regular re-sequestering, according to a paper published in Nature Geoscience. If the containers used don't leak less than one percent every thousand years, atmospheric carbon would have to be monitored carefully and resequestered on a regular basis over tens of thousands of years in order to match the effects of reducing carbon emissions. Otherwise, sequestration would only slow the warming, not stop it.

Carbon sequestration too leaky to stop global warming


Why heterosexual men are attracted to women with small feet

Why heterosexual men are attracted to women with small feet: " Data Images Ns Cms Dn19118 Dn19118-1 300

The face on the left is a composite of eight women with 'unusually small feet.' The face on the right is a composite of 'eight women with unusually large feet.'

The morphs were created by evolutionary psychologists Jeremy Atkinson and Michelle Rowe at the University at Albany, New York. Atkinson called them the 'most strikingly different morphs I've ever seen.'

These morphs were then rated for attractiveness by 77 heterosexual male students. The men were three-and-a-half times as likely to pick the short-footed morph as more attractive, and almost 10 times as likely to say it was more feminine, Atkinson and Rowe found.


Atkinson thinks men find these features attractive because they serve as markers of a healthy childhood. Biologists know that stress and poor nutrition during foetal development and puberty can affect sex hormone levels and cause earlier puberty.

New Scientist: Why men are attracted to women with small feet


8-bit costume

8-bit costume: "8Bitttttt

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Kiel Johnson and Klai Brown recently built a fantastic 8-bit costume for a Toshiba commercial. They cut the 'pixels' from large sheets of high density foam and glued them to an articulated cardboard suit structure. Kiel says, 'I think I cut around 4000 pixels. Not all used for Gary... we are building two more characters for a video project.' He's posted a posted a slew of terrific images from the build and commercial shoot.
'8-Bit Gary'


Givenchy fashion inspired by anatomy

Givenchy fashion inspired by anatomy: " Slideshows 2010 Fashionshows F2010Ctr Givenchy Runway 00010M-1

 Slideshows 2010 Fashionshows F2010Ctr Givenchy Runway 00020M-1

Fashion designer Riccardo Tisci's latest couture collection for Givenchy was inspired by Frida Kahlo's obsessions with religion, sensuality, and human anatomy. What, no menswear!? From

The zipper pulls were little bones, a belt was a spinal column re-created in porcelain. The dominant motif of the collection was the skeleton, laid out flat in the lace appliqu├ęd on a long tulle column, or rendered in three dimensions in obsessively dense clusters of crystals, pearls, and lace on the back of a jacket in double silk duchesse satin. Nestled in the middle? A tiny ceramic skull sprouting angel wings. At one point during his presentation, Tisci rather tellingly muttered, 'A romantic way to see death.'

Givenchy Fall 2010 Couture Collection (Thanks, Kelly Sparks!)


Tuesday, July 6, 2010

#636; In which a Hunter goes fishing

#636; In which a Hunter goes fishing: "

don't make me put one of your salmony brethren on here to seal the deal


Pocket Kite

Pocket Kite: "

I've collected quite an assortment of logo emblazoned pens, mousepads, stress balls, and other tchotchkes at professional conferences, but far and away the most fun and useful (as in, it gets used) item I have picked up is the pocket kite. The pocket kite is a small sled-style kite that is kept in a small zippered pouch attached to a key ring that also contains a little reel loaded with kite string.

The kite is very easy to fly, but doesn't have any wooden supports or anything else that could break. The pouch is barely 3 inches across and weighs next to nothing, so it is easy toss into a backpack for a hike. I keep mine in the courier bag that goes with me everywhere. It is really fun to bust it out when unexpected kite flying opportunities arise. Day at the beach; reaching a summit; dull company picnic. Unless you are a hardcore kite nut, you probably aren't hanging around waiting for a windy day so you can drop everything and go fly a kite. A pocket kite is ready when you are. And it's cheap, so when it inevitably gets stuck in a tree, it's not the end of the world.

Deluxe Pocket Kite Open.jpeg

-- Toby Plewak

Stow'n Go Pocket Kite


Available from Uncles Games

Manufactured by Toysmith



DFS: "A breadth-first search makes a lot of sense for dating in general, actually; it suggests dating a bunch of people casually before getting serious, rather than having a series of five-year relationships one after the other."