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Murder suspect asked Siri how to hide a body; Siri gave him some answers!
08.13.2014
01:49 pm

Topics:
Current Events
Science/Tech

Tags:
Siri


 
I haven’t been following this case or know much about it, but a few years ago a teenager Pedro Bravo allegedly strangled and killed a young man—formerly a friend of his—named Christian Aguilar, a University of Florida student, in a Wal-mart parking lot. Bravo was convinced Aguliar was dating his old high school girlfriend and became so overcome with jealousy and anger, killing Aguliar and burying him in a nearby forest.

According to reports, Bravo allegedly asked Siri, “I need to hide my roommate.”

What’s creepy as hell is Siri actually responded with, “What kind of place are you looking for?” Siri then suggested the following: “Swamps. Reservoirs. Metal foundries. Dumps.”
 

 
Dumbfounding, isn’t it? HOW would Siri seemingly understand the nuance present in this situation?

You can read more about the case here and here.

Update: There appears to be some discrepancy with what actually happened. Watch the video below:

 
via Death and Taxes

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
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Your old discarded Windows 95 computer is stalking you
08.06.2014
08:06 am

Topics:
Amusing
Science/Tech

Tags:
Windows 95


 
Anyone who remembers August of 1995 will probably also remember the relentless promotional campaign that accompanied the release of Microsoft’s amazing new operating system, Windows 95. How times have changed. Apple was in the doldrums then, Microsoft was everywhere, and the name “Bill Gates” was on everyone’s lips. With a net worth of $76 billion, Gates is still the wealthiest man in the world (at least as of last March), but there’s no doubt that Steve Jobs passed Gates in some kind of global coolness billionaire metric sometime around the release of the first iPhone. Is Microsoft still even in business? It’s not always clear.

The cute and dorky status of the boxy messages emitted by Windows 95 constitute the cornerstone of a marvelous new website created by Neil Cicierega called, with great deadpan misdirection, “Windows 95 Tips, Tricks, and Tweaks.” That title doesn’t get you anywhere close to the site’s actual content, which is a series of disturbing screengrabs displaying messages from your last discarded Windows 95 machine, which has been developing a conscious mind since you last paid attention to it. Windows 95 now has the approximate personality of an obsessive stalker/serial killer, and its only quarry is you. Not to worry, I’m sure it’s harmless.
 

 

 

 

 

 

 
via io9

Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
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Thanks to science, we can now see music without the hallucinogens!
08.05.2014
07:01 am

Topics:
Music
Science/Tech

Tags:
synesthesia


Art from Alex Piamonte
 
Wait, science—have you thought this through?!? Actually, in terms of pure science fiction curb appeal, this MIT demonstration is without a doubt some one of the coolest displays of technology I’ve ever seen. Essentially, sound vibrates matter in what are increasingly measurable ways, and with incredibly advanced video equipment, we can now reproduce the sound that was played in the presence of an object using only the visual recording of the object. These vibrations are so small they can’t be seen with the naked eye, but the video shows scientists reproducing “Mary Had a Little Lamb” from a houseplant, and Queen and Bowie’s “Under Pressure” from a pair of earbuds (nice choice).

The whole thing is pretty unbelievable, but when you see an actual, intelligible conversation rendered from video of a potato chip bag you realize there is some seriously next-level shit going on. The implications for surveillance are obvious—I’m reminded of HAL 9000 reading lips in 2001: A Space Odyssey—but I’m optimistic that work like this has amazing potential.

Obviously it’s the sort of thing that requires insanely expensive instrumentation and (at least as of now), very specific conditions, but isn’t it just so James Bond? This is not to excuse the reckless actions of such irresponsible scientists, who may be leading the youth away from proper drug-related synesthesia, and subsequently gutting the marketplace for honest, hard-working drug dealers.

I can’t help thinking that if this technology had been around during the era of the Grateful Dead, only the rich kid Deadheads would have had one. Soon though, it’ll be an app, giving people, ahem, “something to do” at concerts besides merely videotaping a show they aren’t really paying attention to…
 

 
Via ANIMAL

Posted by Amber Frost | Discussion
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‘48% Bug-eyed, unblinking, creepy staring’: Werner Herzog movies in chart form
08.01.2014
06:10 am

Topics:
Amusing
Movies
Science/Tech

Tags:
Werner Herzog

Fitzcarraldo
Fitzcarraldo
 
The editorial brain trust of The Dissolve has released an amusing feature breaking down sixteen mostly early Werner Herzog movies and presenting them as bar graphs. The sixteen movies correlate to the ones selected for Herzog: The Collection, the new box set from Shout! Factory.

Herzog is so prolific that many recent favorites aren’t represented, so no Grizzly Man, no Cave of Forgotten Dreams, no Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans. However, you can still learn that Aguirre, The Wrath Of God is 2% “Klaus Kinski intimidating a horse” and that Stroszek is 50% “Thinly populated corners of Wisconsin.” (Have to say, those numbers seem about right to me.) Every movie gets points for “Beauty,” “Terror,” “Madness,” “Ambition,” “Success,” and “Reality,” which is what the bar charts represent.
 
Stroszek
Stroszek
 
Nosferatu the Vampyre
Nosferatu the Vampyre
 
Woyzeck
Woyzeck
 
My Best Fiend
My Best Fiend
 
The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser
The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser
 
Cobra Verde
Cobra Verde
 
Aguirre, the Wrath of God
Aguirre, the Wrath of God
 
Catch the rest at The Dissolve.
 
via Biblioklept

Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
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Watch a cheeseburger dissolve in hydrochloric acid
07.28.2014
06:56 am

Topics:
Amusing
Food
Science/Tech

Tags:
chemistry
experiments

chseburgacid.jpg
 
This is what happens when you put a cheeseburger in hydrochloric acid.

Or as we all have some hydrochloric acid “churning about” inside of us, this is how we more or less digest our food.
 

 
Via Nerdcore

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
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Illustrated history of the world’s worst computer viruses
07.17.2014
07:31 am

Topics:
Art
Science/Tech

Tags:
Computer virus
Bas van de Poel

skulls000.jpg
Skulls by Anthony Burrill
 
The Computer Virus Catalog is an illustrated guide to the worst viruses in computer history.

The project was founded by Amsterdam-based, multi-award-winning writer Bas van de Poel whose fascination with such “evil plots” led to his curating a new art collection of the worst viruses as illustrated by artists around the world.

See the full catalog here.
 

Code Red by Thomas Slater

This refreshing worm exploits a vulnerability in Windows 2000 and NT and initiates a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack on the White House website

 
cookiem0000.jpg
 

Cookie Monster by Lawrence Slater

Created in the late ‘60s, Cookie Monster is the world’s first computer virus. After infection, Cookie Monster freezes all system activity and demands cookies….You simply unlock your computer again by typing the word ‘cookie’

 
happy99000.jpg
 
	lsd0000.jpg
 

LSD by Clay Hickson

The LSD virus is far out… This DOS virus overwrites all the files in the current directory and then displays a druggy video effect. Next it shows a message from your local dealer: ‘LSD ViRuS 1.0 Coded By Death Dealer 4/29/94 [TeMpEsT -94]’

 
marburg0000.jpg
 

Marburg by HORT

Marburg infects .EXE and .SCR files and draws the all too familiar critical error icon everywhere on your screen.


 
More illustrated viruses, after the jump…
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
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Avant garde app visualizes Steve Reich’s ‘Piano Phase’
07.16.2014
12:11 pm

Topics:
Music
Science/Tech

Tags:
Steve Reich


 
“Piano Phase” (1967) was Steve Reich’s first composition to use phasing in live performance—he had already tried it with taped music. The concept here is that you have two pianos playing the same repetitive lines of music but at very slightly different speeds, which means that over the course of several minutes the two melodies will overlap (almost) perfectly at certain points and then gradually diverge, which creates interesting tonalities. Todd Tarantino explains:
 

The score presents a handful of rotations of a twleve-note figure that is played in twelve variations. In its first presentation the theme begins on the first note; the first variation begins on the second note and ends on the first note; the second variation begins on the third note and ends on the second and so forth until all the rotations of the figure have been played. Alone it would be a simple, quick and relatively dull score. However the process by which the variations proceed is where the interest lies. Reich asks the first piano to begin by playing the theme alone. The second piano joins when the theme is sufficiently established. While one piano keeps the initial tempo, the other speeds up ever so slightly which causes the two to become out-of-sync for a moment before the second pitch of the slowing down piano locks with the first pitch of the steady tempo piano. This process repeats until the two return to unison. It sounds more complicated than it actually is.

 
As Tarantino drily concludes, “It is quite difficult to play.” Yeah—it sure seems like it!

You can see part of the score on Tarantino’s site as well. Indeed, as delightful as the challenge of humans playing may be, the optimal performance of “Piano Phase” would be undertaken by computer, as only a computer can perfectly track the almost imperceptibly slow alterations in phase that are so integral to the work. And that has happened—on Vimeo there is a surprisingly entertaining rendition of the composition performed by an “ER-101 Indexed Quad Sequencer and some other eurorack modules.” (What makes it entertaining is that we can watch the user setting the sequence up.)

Google Creative Labs honcho Alexander Chen has created a fun web app called, appropriately enough, Piano Phase in which you can see the notes being played (by computer) as well as hear them. Appropriately, as if to mirror the inherently cyclical nature of the work, Chen has two differently colored dots trace lines up and down (to represent pitch) around a circle, rather than scrolling endlessly to the right as in a traditional score.

Chen writes:

This site is based on the first section from Steve Reich’s 1967 piece Piano Phase. Two pianists repeat the same twelve note sequence, but one gradually speeds up. Here, the musical patterns are visualized by drawing two lines, one following each pianist.

The sound is performed live in the browser with the Web Audio API, and drawn in HTML5 Canvas.

 
The app does interesting visual things if you pause the music to read the “about” text and also if you click and drag anywhere in the browser. Play around with it, it’s pretty cool.
 

 
Two mesmerizing performances of “Piano Phase” after the jump….

Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
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Images of LSD, cocaine, meth and other drugs exposed to film
07.16.2014
10:22 am

Topics:
Art
Drugs
Science/Tech

Tags:
LSD
cocaine

Fantasy + Ecstasy
Fantasy + Ecstasy
 
Sarah Schönfeld was working at a Berlin nightclub when she decided to try to find out what the various drugs people were ingesting look like. Much like the apple falling on Isaac Newton’s head, perhaps the story of Schönfeld observing an obnoxious MDMA user will someday become one of the formative myths of scientific inquiry… but somehow, I doubt it. And yet it’s awfully apt.

Schönfeld converted her art studio into a lab, and exposed various drug mixtures in liquid form to film negatives and documented the results. The photographs have been collected in a book called All You Can Feel (Kerber Press), which will be available in late August.

The results mostly conform to general predictions—the only thing missing from the LSD visualization are trails. “Fantasy + Ecstasy” looks like a road map of a fucked-up island kingdom, and cocaine supplies a blue bursting-at-the-seams effect. Others are more surprising. Pharmaceutical speed looks like a Mandelbrot pattern, which kinda makes sense. Meanwhile, adrenaline, perversely, has a sluggish feel. And do my eyes deceive me or does the crystal meth photo feature a small chunk of Walter White’s “Crystal Blue Persuasion” in what appears to be a dystopian snow globe?
 
Cocaine
Cocaine
 
Caffeine
Caffeine
 
Crystal Meth
Crystal Meth
 
LSD
LSD
 
Ketamine
Ketamine I
 
Ketamine
Ketamine II
 
Adrenaline
Adrenaline
 
Heroin
Heroin
 
Pharmaceutical Speed
Pharmaceutical Speed
 
via WFMU

Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
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Make your own Marcel Duchamp chess set with a 3D printer
07.07.2014
08:44 am

Topics:
Art
Science/Tech
Sports

Tags:
Marcel Duchamp
chess

Marcel Duchamp
 
It’s well known that hugely influential French artist Marcel Duchamp, after basically introducing the world to the category of “conceptual art,” abandoned the art world for a new obsession, chess, in his early thirties. He qualified as a chess master by achieving a draw in the Third French Chess Championship in 1925 (for which he designed the poster, below).
 
Marcel Duchamp
 
Duchamp’s wife became so consternated at his obsession with the game that she glued his pieces to his board. He designed a handsome chess set, which, as far as I can tell, has never been mass-produced (meanwhile, editions of Man Ray’s minimalist chess set fetch prices of $200 and up).
 
Duchamp chess set
 
At the MakerBot.Thingiverse website, Scott Kildall and Bryan Cera have generated a 3D-printable version of Duchamp’s chess set, with the witty title “Readymake” (all of Duchamp’s most famous artistic interventions were called “readymades”):
 

Readymake: Duchamp Chess Set is a 3D-printed chess set generated from an archival photograph of Marcel Duchamp’s own custom and hand-carved game. His original physical set no longer exists. We have resurrected the lost artifact by digitally recreating it, and then making the 3D files available for anyone to print.

Inspired by Marcel Duchamp’s readymade—an ordinary manufactured object that the artist selected and modified for exhibition—the readymake brings the concept of the appropriated object to the realm of the internet, exploring the web’s potential to re-frame information and data, and their reciprocal relationships to matter and ideas. Readymakes transform photographs of objects lost in time into shared 3D digital spaces to provide new forms and meanings.

 
Duchamp chess set
 
Here’s a lovely French-language documentary (with English subtitles) about Duchamp called “Jeu d’échecs” (A Game of Chess) that covers both his extravagantly impressive artistic resume as well as his interest in chess: 
 

 

Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
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Citroëns make great hovercrafts
07.07.2014
08:08 am

Topics:
Art
Science/Tech

Tags:
Photoshop
Citroën

Citroën hovercraft
 
When I think of Citroëns, I think of the vaguely-VW-bug-like 2CV model, known in France as the “deux chevaux.” (It looks like this.) But just like Volkswagen, naturally Citroën has all sorts of models in their stable, and a few of the older models are quite sporty, lending themselves perfectly to Swedish artist Jacob Munkhammar‘s Photoshopped experiments in retro-futurism. He took a bunch of handsome photos of Citroëns and turned them into gee-whiz flying automobiles of the most adorable type.

The most poignant nostalgia is for a future that never was or will be, as these amusing photos definitely prove.
 
Citroën hovercraft
 
Citroën hovercraft
 
Citroën hovercraft
 
Citroën hovercraft
 
Citroën hovercraft
 
Citroën hovercraft
 
via Fubiz
 
Thanks Alex Belth!

Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
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