Search This Blog

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Spiders made from TSA-confiscated scissors

Spiders made from TSA-confiscated scissors:

Sculptor Christopher Locke makes the most amazing spiders out of scissors -- but not just any scissors. Scissors that the TSA confiscated and auctioned off.

Although the TSA website says scissors with blades less than four inches are allowed on airplanes, the individual officers conducting the screening have the authority to confiscate anything they think could be used as a weapon. As a result, hundreds of pairs of scissors are confiscated daily at American airports.
Scissor Spiders (via Colossal)

Friday, March 30, 2012

Building spilling books

Building spilling books:
 Files Eauxfvwx1Cikejeudslx9Nawha9Mugkoxz7Cqveea6Wdass66P2Xuacrc*B3Scus9Iyif8Gdp4G7Svjvrozglrhceibgbbca Aliciamartinbiographies1-1

"Biografias," an installation by Alicia Martin at Casa de America, Madrid. "5,000 Books Pour Out of a Building in Spain" (via Imaginary Foundation)

3D printed shoes

3D printed shoes:

The Smithsonian's Design Decoded blog reports on the latest developments in 3D printed footwear, including the fashion designers and students who are experimenting with printing out shoes using cheap materials that only last for "one lap down a runway." As Andrew writes on the Makerbot blog, "the artist worked with what was available to push the limits of the design, and the design will drive the demand for the needed materials. This is truly a case where life will catch up to imitate the art." Sarah C. Rich expands:

As materials science advances, injection molding may give way to 3D printing—a strategy that’s widely used in design studios for pushing formal boundaries, but as yet not ubiquitous on the footwear market. Most polymers used in 3D printers are too hard and inflexible to make a comfortable shoe, although fashion students and designers have not been deterred from producing them, if only for one lap down a runway. The existing concepts invariably look rather sci-fi, with web-like lines that wrap the foot.

Swedish designer Naim Josefi envisions a consumer environment in which a shopper’s foot would be scanned in-store, and a shoe printed on demand that perfectly fit the wearer’s anatomy. Brazilian designer Andreia Chaves’s Invisible Shoe pairs a common leather pump with a 3D-printed cage-like bootie, while Dutch fashion designer Pauline van Dongen’s Morphogenesis shoe more closely resembles a platform wedge. And at the London College of Fashion, student Hoon Chung created a line of 3D printed shoes for a final project, which look perhaps the closest to contemporary styles, though the molded shapes betray a high-tech production method.
These Shoes are Made for Printing (via Makerbot blog)

(Image: Andreia Chaves’s Invisible Shoe)

Stary eyeball hair

Stary eyeball hair:

An unsourced photo on Biglilkim's Tumblr shows a woman whose back-flip has been turned into an awesome, starey eyeball. Anyone know more about the picture?

(via Neatorama)
Update: In the comments, Copacetic says, "Yes. The stylist's name is Seaborn (known as Celebrity Seaborn) and the woman in the photo is known as Pastor Dot or just Dot. He has a Youtube Channel and Dot is very well know for wearing some of his most outlandish hairstyles. There is actually a video of this style. You can find it here."

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Harms of Post-9/11 Airline Security

[Bruce Schneier's incredibly articulate conclusion to his debate with Kip Hawley. I agree with every damn word. -egg]

Harms of Post-9/11 Airline Security:
As I posted previously, I have been debating former TSA Administrator Kip Hawley on the Economist website. I didn't bother reposting my opening statement and rebuttal, because -- even though I thought I did a really good job with them -- they were largely things I've said before. In my closing statement, I talked about specific harms post-9/11 airport security has caused. This is mostly new, so here it is, British spelling and punctuation and all.

In my previous two statements, I made two basic arguments about post-9/11 airport security. One, we are not doing the right things: the focus on airports at the expense of the broader threat is not making us safer. And two, the things we are doing are wrong: the specific security measures put in place since 9/11 do not work. Kip Hawley doesn’t argue with the specifics of my criticisms, but instead provides anecdotes and asks us to trust that airport security—and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) in particular—knows what it’s doing.

He wants us to trust that a 400-ml bottle of liquid is dangerous, but transferring it to four 100-ml bottles magically makes it safe. He wants us to trust that the butter knives given to first-class passengers are nevertheless too dangerous to be taken through a security checkpoint. He wants us to trust the no-fly list: 21,000 people so dangerous they’re not allowed to fly, yet so innocent they can’t be arrested. He wants us to trust that the deployment of expensive full-body scanners has nothing to do with the fact that the former secretary of homeland security, Michael Chertoff, lobbies for one of the companies that makes them. He wants us to trust that there’s a reason to confiscate a cupcake (Las Vegas), a 3-inch plastic toy gun (London Gatwick), a purse with an embroidered gun on it (Norfolk, VA), a T-shirt with a picture of a gun on it (London Heathrow) and a plastic lightsaber that’s really a flashlight with a long cone on top (Dallas/Fort Worth).

At this point, we don’t trust America’s TSA, Britain’s Department for Transport, or airport security in general. We don’t believe they’re acting in the best interests of passengers. We suspect their actions are the result of politicians and government appointees making decisions based on their concerns about the security of their own careers if they don’t act tough on terror, and capitulating to public demands that “something must be done”.

In this final statement, I promised to discuss the broader societal harms of post-9/11 airport security. This loss of trust—in both airport security and counterterrorism policies in general—is the first harm. Trust is fundamental to society. There is an enormous amount written about this; high-trust societies are simply happier and more prosperous than low-trust societies. Trust is essential for both free markets and democracy. This is why open-government laws are so important; trust requires government transparency. The secret policies implemented by airport security harm society because of their very secrecy.

The humiliation, the dehumanisation and the privacy violations are also harms. That Mr Hawley dismisses these as mere “costs in convenience” demonstrates how out-of-touch the TSA is from the people it claims to be protecting. Additionally, there’s actual physical harm: the radiation from full-body scanners still not publicly tested for safety; and the mental harm suffered by both abuse survivors and children: the things screeners tell them as they touch their bodies are uncomfortably similar to what child molesters say.

In 2004, the average extra waiting time due to TSA procedures was 19.5 minutes per person. That’s a total economic loss—in –America—of $10 billion per year, more than the TSA’s entire budget. The increased automobile deaths due to people deciding to drive instead of fly is 500 per year. Both of these numbers are for America only, and by themselves demonstrate that post-9/11 airport security has done more harm than good.

The current TSA measures create an even greater harm: loss of liberty. Airports are effectively rights-free zones. Security officers have enormous power over you as a passenger. You have limited rights to refuse a search. Your possessions can be confiscated. You cannot make jokes, or wear clothing, that airport security does not approve of. You cannot travel anonymously. (Remember when we would mock Soviet-style “show me your papers” societies? That we’ve become inured to the very practice is a harm.) And if you’re on a certain secret list, you cannot fly, and you enter a Kafkaesque world where you cannot face your accuser, protest your innocence, clear your name, or even get confirmation from the government that someone, somewhere, has judged you guilty. These police powers would be illegal anywhere but in an airport, and we are all harmed—individually and collectively—by their existence.

In his first statement, Mr Hawley related a quote predicting “blood running in the aisles” if small scissors and tools were allowed on planes. That was said by Corey Caldwell, an Association of Flight Attendants spokesman, in 2005. It was not the statement of someone who is thinking rationally about airport security; it was the voice of irrational fear.

Increased fear is the final harm, and its effects are both emotional and physical. By sowing mistrust, by stripping us of our privacy—and in many cases our dignity—by taking away our rights, by subjecting us to arbitrary and irrational rules, and by constantly reminding us that this is the only thing between us and death by the hands of terrorists, the TSA and its ilk are sowing fear. And by doing so, they are playing directly into the terrorists’ hands.

The goal of terrorism is not to crash planes, or even to kill people; the goal of terrorism is to cause terror. Liquid bombs, PETN, planes as missiles: these are all tactics designed to cause terror by killing innocents. But terrorists can only do so much. They cannot take away our freedoms. They cannot reduce our liberties. They cannot, by themselves, cause that much terror. It’s our reaction to terrorism that determines whether or not their actions are ultimately successful. That we allow governments to do these things to us—to effectively do the terrorists’ job for them—is the greatest harm of all.

Return airport security checkpoints to pre-9/11 levels. Get rid of everything that isn’t needed to protect against random amateur terrorists and won’t work against professional al-Qaeda plots. Take the savings thus earned and invest them in investigation, intelligence, and emergency response: security outside the airport, security that does not require us to play guessing games about plots. Recognise that 100% safety is impossible, and also that terrorism is not an “existential threat” to our way of life. Respond to terrorism not with fear but with indomitability. Refuse to be terrorized.

Behold, the Conformateur! A 19th century hat-fitting device

Behold, the Conformateur! A 19th century hat-fitting device:

Tricia Roush is justifiably excited by her acquisition of an 1821 Conformateur in excellent shape. Conformateurs are Victorian devices used to measure the irregularities in the heads of milliner's customers, to ensure a better fit from the eventual hat. Roush explains the device's working in detail, with generous photos of the extraordinary device in action.

While the conformateur is on the head, after the fingers are pressed in so that they are conforming to the head shape, a piece of paper is placed into a frame on the top of the machine. Little pins stick out of the top of the machine, each one attached to one of the fingers, so that the pins now reflect the head shape as well, but in miniature. The frame swings down on a hinge to press the paper into the pins, perforating the paper. In this photo, you can see that the inside of the frame is lined in cork, and there are little holes in the cork where the pins have pressed.

The perforations in the paper make a pattern that's a recording of the person's head shape. The hat maker then cuts the pattern out with scissors along the perforations to store for future use. Here are some examples of the paper patterns. Because it's a shrunken version of the person's head shape, any bumps and asymmetry in the head shape (we all have them) are exaggerated in the pattern, as you can see here.
Oh Joy! My Conformateur (via JWZ)

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Anarchism and the Global Justice movement

One of the most articulate explanations & justifications I've seen of anarchism's role in these movements:

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Woodcut maps

Woodcut maps:

I really dig creative work that turns a sense of place into art. That's why I'm really getting a kick out of, which uses Google Maps to create really great geometric art—some clearly map-like, others much more abstract.
It all depends on what view of the map you choose to have turned into a woodcut. You can do a tight crop, or wide pull-out. Basically, you choose the view that matters to you. They make it art. Above is what my neighborhood in Minneapolis would look like as a woodcut.
At $100 for an 8x8 square, this isn't cheap. But it is very cool and strikes me as something that would make a nice housewarming gift for a special friend, or an anniversary gift for parents who've lived in the same place for decades.
Via Flowingdata and Ryan Sager.

Conservatives Unite Moneybomb

[C Stross has some interesting thoughts about Rick Santorum....-egg]
Dr Strangelove: Or, how I learned to stop worrying and love Rick Santorum:
Yes, I know I taunted you all with "President Santorum's America" in "Accelerando". But that was then, and this is now. Back in 2005 (when I was assembling "Accelerando" from its constituent pieces — he didn't feature in the original version of "Troubadour", circa 2002) he seemed vaguely sinister. But his electoral defeat in 2006 gave us the most hysterically funny portrait of an American political family ever, sort of like the Addams Family Does DC ...

And since then he has become even funnier -- the most freakishly accurate self-parodist in American politics. I mean, seriously: he hates poor people, dog-whistles to racists, thinks the Pope is an environmentalist radical and liberal, he wants to ban abortion and contraception, pornography, and, probably, masturbation, and then he tips us a sly wink, like this:

Yes, that's on his campaign website right now. (If you don't get the joke, go to his campaign site for the full-width banner and look for the other acronym. Yes, there are two of them: I'm pretty sure his team have been infiltrated ...)

And then there are his campaign videos. He's clearly been hiring scriptwriters who have feel a close affinity for dystopian science fiction novels:

Charlie-Bob says, watch for the gas price, roughly halfway through the montage in the middle. Gas gets more and more expensive until it costs $9 per gallon! (Planet Earth calling Rick's scriptwriter: some of us would kill to fill up for only $9/US gallon. It hasn't been that cheap for years: civilization has, however, not collapsed. Unless you count David Cameron and the Bullingdon Club. Hmm. On second thoughts, I retract that assertion.)

Admittedly, there's room for improvement in some areas. Santorum's team has yet to release a video as flabbergastingly insane as Carly Fiorina's "Demon Sheep" campaign ad from 2010:

... But you know it's only a matter of time before Rick appears on stage to announce that, as President, he will declare an official War on Masturbation while renaming the United States of America as the Republic of Gilead.

From his utterly punchable face — given the right punch-bag I could punch that grinning mug all day, or at least until my arm got sore: it's even more dislikable than David Cameron — through to the botox-paralysed expression of his loyal wife (clearly disapproving of his failure in that 2006 shot, but putting up with him because of her chance at the First Lady slot), to the careful strategic deployment of weeping children, Santorum's carefully constructed image is the ultimate Frankensteinian fusion of US political imagery in service of ... well, it's not politics, that's for starters.

No, his isn't politics. Rather, it's some kind of weird Hunter-Thompson-esque situationist art-terror parody thing. We're going to get to the Republican party convention and he's going to rip off the rubber face mask and reveal himself to be Sacha Baron Cohen screaming, "fooled you all!" Or maybe not. Given the history of past Republican political contenders, he's more likely to deliver the punch line with the assistance a male prostitute and a couple of lines of coke in an airport toilet cubicle while on the campaign trail.


Monday, March 26, 2012

I have no idea what you're doing

I have no idea what you're doing:

At a dog show in Shenyang, China, a Tibetan Mastiff has no idea whatsoever what this man is trying to achieve. Photo: REUTERS/Sheng Li

Skull carved out of obsolete computer manuals

Skull carved out of obsolete computer manuals:

Maskull Lasserre, a Canadian sculptor, made this beautiful, realistic skull ("Incarnate") by clamping a collection of obsolete computer manuals together and carving away at the pages.

(Three Degrees of Certainty II) (via Colossal)