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Saturday, November 5, 2011

Global Village Construction Set: Towards a DIY civilization

Global Village Construction Set: Towards a DIY civilization: 201111041038

Meara O'Reilly says:

Open Source Ecology is a network of farmers, engineers, and supporters building the Global Village Construction Set -- a modular, DIY, low-cost, open source, high-performance platform that allows for the easy fabrication of the 50 different industrial machines that it takes to build a small, sustainable civilization with modern comforts.

They've launched a Kickstarter here.

The founder, Marcin Jakubowski, PhD, has a TED talk here.

Their extensive wiki has been facilitating global collaboration on the toolset. They have been 100% crowd funded for the last 4 years.

The aim of the GVCS is to lower the barriers to entry into farming, building, and manufacturing. Its a life-size lego set that could create entire economies, whether in rural Missouri, where the project was founded, or in the developing world.

Yes, they are crazy, idealistic, foolish, and headstrong. But they may succeed, and that would be really interesting.

Response to a FAQ: Its true, GVCS machines do rely heavily on mail order parts for the guts of the machines at present. This will transition into reliance on DIY parts after the full release of the Open Source Microfactory and the further development of the 3d parts library. The Open Source Microfactory is the portion of the GVCS that is just for making stuff, it will include: CNC Multimachine, CNC Circuit Mill/3d Printer, Induction Furnace, Ironworker, CNC Torch Table, Universal Welder, CNC Lasercutter, Hot Metal Roller.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Hylozoic Ground: art installation made of gossamer computers is like a huge lung

Hylozoic Ground: art installation made of gossamer computers is like a huge lung:

Hylozoic Ground, a Canadian art installation that was exhibited at the Venice Biennale, sounds like a really lovely, immersive environment. One warning: if you're the sort of person who's allergic to obscure, overwrought "artist's statements," the site may frustrate you -- it took me about 50 clicks before I found a screen that actually stated, in simple text, what the installation was. Which is a pity, because it's pretty cool and I can't think of a single reason not to tell people about it. For your convenience, I've pasted it here for you:

Tens of thousands of lightweight digitally-fabricated components are fitted with microprocessors and proximity sensors that react to human presence. This responsive environment functions like a giant lung that breathes in and out around its occupants. Arrays of touch sensors and shape-memory alloy actuators (a type of non-motorized kinetic mechanism) create waves of empathic motion, luring visitors into the eerie shimmering depths of a mythical landscape, a fragile forest of light.

Hylozoic Ground

(Thanks, Dad!)

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Photo of a crosswalk light

[Look what's on BoingBoing! Go Asheville :)]

Photo of a crosswalk light: 201111021407

Here's a photo of a crosswalk light and a portion of a tattoo store sign. I wonder what's in the metal box behind the pole? (Via Reddit)

Sunday, October 30, 2011

What Kind of Buddhist was Steve Jobs, Really?

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What Kind of Buddhist was Steve Jobs, Really?

Kobun Chino Otogawa, Steve Jobs' Zen teacher. Courtesy

At PLOS, Steve Silberman goes in depth into the influence that Steve's Buddhist teachers had on Apple's mission and its products.

"I found myself in a unique position to write it, since I knew Jobs' teacher Kobun Chino, and studied at Zen Center around the same time that Steve did," Silberman tells Boing Boing. "I include a quote from a never-published interview with Steve at the end."

As a young seeker in the '70s, Jobs didn't just dabble in Zen, appropriating its elliptical aesthetic as a kind of exotic cologne. He turns out to have been a serious, diligent practitioner who undertook lengthy meditation retreats at Tassajara — the first Zen monastery in America, located at the end of a twisting dirt road in the mountains above Carmel — spending weeks on end "facing the wall," as Zen students say, to observe the activity of his own mind.

Why would a former phone phreak who perseverated over the design of motherboards be interested in doing that? Using the mind to watch the mind, and ultimately to change how the mind works, is known in cognitive psychology as metacognition. Beneath the poetic cultural trappings of Buddhism, what intensive meditation offers to long-term practitioners is a kind of metacognitive hack of the human operating system (a metaphor that probably crossed Jobs' mind at some point.) Sitting zazen offered Jobs a practical technique for upgrading the motherboard in his head.

Read the full article here.

Class War funnies: 1935 Daily Worker comics

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Class War funnies: 1935 Daily Worker comics

Ruling Clawss was a Daily Worker comic strip by "A Redfield," better known for his contributions to the New Yorker under the name Syd Hoff. The strips are pretty resonant today, amid the Occupy uprisings and crackdowns.

Syd Hoff's Teeth: The Leftist Satire of A. Redfield

(via MeFi)

OWS: the sand-sculpture/Day of the Dead edition

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OWS: the sand-sculpture/Day of the Dead edition

Carl Jara writes, "Calavera del Toro: Gold Medal sand sculpture by Carl Jara, depicts Occupy Wall Street in a Day of the Dead satire. Created last weekend at Sand Castle Days in South Padre Island, Texas. A banker and a politician sit comfortably toasting their overflowing champagne flutes to the skull of their recently slain Wall Street bull, draped in a Golden Parachute."

Calavera del Toro

(Thanks, Carl!)