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White Noise Boutique to sell ‘artisanal white noise’


 
Residing at the precise point where conceptual art meets commerce meets mathematics meets cyptography meets transcendental meditation meets, shall we say, hipster excess is the White Noise Boutique, a pop-up shop that will exist in the city of Brighton in the United Kingdom from September 9 to 18 of this year. The only products the White Noise Boutique will sell are custom-made LPs and digital files containing unique white noise, a term that encompasses both a washed-out static-y sounding audio tone as well as a cryptographically pleasing set of random data. The quest for “truly” random numbers, useful for encoding data, is a daunting task with a multitude of high-end applications, which are described here.

Used properly, white noise can be soothing to listen to, especially for hyperactive minds, so white noise is frequently used to help people get to sleep, to meditate, or to concentrate on urgent work. You can listen to Wikipedia’s 20-second sample of white noise generated by Jorge Stolfi. To my knowledge this project has nothing to do with the excellent 1985 novel by Don DeLillo.
 

 
Once you create a batch of white noise at the White Noise Boutique, you can spend £1 for a digital file and £4 to receive an LP with the white noise on it (if you go that route, you will receive a digital file as well). One pound is roughly $1.50 these days, so the LP will run you about $6.

The White Noise Boutique’s descriptions of their process and options make it all but impossible to resist making hipster jokes about “hand-crafted bologna” and the like. Indeed, it honestly does seem parodic much of the time. What follows are the captions for a series of slides that you can see on the video embedded below, which capture that elusive, slightly vacant and solicitous tone that tells you you might be in hipster territory. Remember, they could have mimicked The Matrix or Mr. Robot, but instead they aped the patterns of people who use the word “artisanal” a lot.

We craft unique white noise to your exact specifications.

Steps:
Select a random-number generator to create your noise.
Some generators allow for a starting value, called a “seed.”
For extra security, we can apply additional randomness through a process called “salting.”
We apply a battery of statistical tests to ensure your white noise is as random as possible.
Once generated, we hand-cut your white noise to a unique vinyl record or direct to digital download.
Finally, if specified we upload a digital version of your white noise for download.

 

The explanation on the website is full of verbiage like “Type 1390-B tube-powered noise generator” and “a Faraday cage for generating your noise to avoid electro-magnetic radiation.” Can’t you just imagine that conversation at your local latte purveyor in which the one dude sneers at the other dude because HIS randomly generated white noise did not use a Faraday cage?

The funny thing is, as the proud owner of a record collection purchased entirely in the last 2 years, I ........ kinda want one.
 

 
via Death and Taxes
 

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
What if your naked eye could see wifi signals?
08.25.2015
02:46 pm

Topics:
Science/Tech

Tags:
wifi


 
I was reading earlier this morning about these parents suing their child’s boarding school in Massachusetts over their use of supposedly too strong wi-fi signals which they say are harming his health, causing nausea and nosebleeds. The parents claim that their 12-year-old son suffers from Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity Syndrome, a condition which is aggravated by electromagnetic radiation, even batteries. It’s what Michael McKean’s character in Better Call Saul believes is troubling him and there is even an entire town that is a wifi dead zone in West Virginia that has become a destination for EHS sufferers. Is Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity Syndrome all in the head? Perhaps, but the jury is still out. Maybe some people are “allergic” to radiation. It’s not completely outside the realm of possibility.

In any case, anyone who is a hypochondriac (or paranoic) reading this is advised to stop now, because I don’t want to burden you with something new to fret about because Dutch artist Richard Vijgen has introduced a new app called “The Architecture of Radio” which utilizes various local data sources to visualize “hidden” communications networks in a specific location. “We are completely surrounded by an invisible system of data cables and radio signals from access points, cell towers and overhead satellites. Our digital lives depend on these very physical systems for communication, observation and navigation,” he says.

In order to show you cell phone signals, the Architecture of Radio app parses wireless tower locations via OpenCellID, a ground mind mapping of cell towers. It uses NASA and JPL’s Ephemeris software to zero in on the locations of in-orbit satellites. There are hidden signals all around us. We can’t see them, but they, in a manner of speaking, can “see” us.

For now the app with only work at a site-specific exhibit that will be on display at the ZKM Media Museum in Karlsruhe, Germany, from September 4th of this year all the way until next April. There are plans afoot to make the Architecture of Radio app available publicly later this year.
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
New app makes HD iPhone video look just like crappy 1980s camcorder footage
08.21.2015
10:31 am

Topics:
Science/Tech

Tags:
video
1980s


 
One of the problems with the iPhone is that the camera and video-cam functionality is just too good. With a minimum of effort you can record images and video that have a remarkably high quality. But if there’s one thing that people who’ve had the Internet and smartphones ever since they were 10 years old can probably agree on, the most cravalicious commodity is authenticity—the kind you get when technologies don’t work quite right, whether it’s the pops and hiss emanating from a vintage LP, the blocky charm of 8-bit video games, or the peculiar aural frisson only a vocoder can supply. Technologies are so advanced that you have to build in your own “human” warp and woof—shit, if not for that, it really becomes hard to tell the automated from the human sometimes.

To paraphrase David Lee Roth, the most important thing in life is sincerity—once you can fake that, you got it made. If sincerity is what you’re after, there are companies who’ll be thrilled to fake it for you—as will, for instance, a visual effects company called Rarevision, which has designed a marvelous app for the iPhone (don’t know about Android) called VHS Camcorder that takes your pristine smartphone video footage and makes it look just like some shitty video that was recorded in the mid-1980s, at the height of the camcorder revolution.

Basically, you can make any clip you record look like some junk that’s all ready for the Bob Saget treatment.

My favorite option is “Tilting Device Makes Things Worse”—“When enabled, moving your device around will mess up the picture.” Also, as the company states, “Phony zoom lens feature dramatically enhances the cheese factor.” These people know what they’re doing; their product page is pretty funny too.

In case you were wondering, YES, you can adjust the date to read a date from the past. Here’s some slightly bizarre footage of an obviously contemporary Starbuck’s—but the footage is date-stamped August 21, 1984. So weird!
 

 

 
via BoingBoing
 

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
‘MANOS: The Hands of Fate’—the video game!


 
Pop culture is so strange. Things catch on and end up in places that couldn’t have been foreseen at the time of creation or release. Think of Ed Wood’s career, gleefully cherished by film buffs, then turned into an object of derision in movies like It Came From Hollywood but THEN transformed into an occasion for authentic poignancy by Tim Burton.

Or consider MANOS: The Hands of Fate, a schlocky occult/horror movie from 1966 that hardly made any waves when it came out (it failed to recoup its $19,000 budget).
It was directed by Harold P. Warren, an insurance and fertilizer salesman from El Paso, Texas. He starred in it as well. It played only at the Capri Theater in El Paso and a few drive-ins in West Texas and New Mexico.
 

 
In the movie, a vacationing family loses their way on a road trip and ends up trapped at a lodge in which a polygamous pagan cult has taken up residence. It’s worth reading Wikipedia’s account of the movie’s demerits: “The film is infamous for its technical deficiencies, especially its significant editing and continuity flaws; its soundtrack and visuals not being synchronized; tedious pacing; abysmal acting; and several scenes that are seemingly inexplicable or disconnected from the overall plot, such as a couple making out in a car or The Master’s wives breaking out in catfights.”

In 1993 Mystery Science Theater 3000 ran an episode about MANOS, and it’s become one of their most popular episodes: On this vote taken on a MST3K message board, the episode in which the gang riffs on MANOS clocked in as the second-best MST3K episode of all time, behind only the deliriously funny Space Mutiny episode.

In 2012 FreakZone Games released a Nintendo-ish adaptation of the game—it’s in the familiar Mario Bros. style and uses set pieces from the movie. It’s not every schlocky horror movie that gets transformed into a video game FIFTY years later, but if you get lucky, even weird things like that can happen. This year saw the release of MANOS: The Hands of Fate—Director’s Cut, an improved version of the game with cut screens—you can buy it here.
 
Here’s some gameplay from the 2012 version:

 
The full movie of MANOS: The Hands of Fate:

 
And the MST3K treatment of MANOS:

 
via Kill Screen
 

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Cocaine, heroin, and LSD molecules become wearable works of art
08.07.2015
10:04 am

Topics:
Drugs
Fashion
Science/Tech

Tags:
LSD
cocaine
heroin
jewelry

Cocaine molecular necklace
“Cocaine” molecular necklace
 
After working for a biotech lab in Vancouver, BC, science “nerd” Tania Hennessy, originally from New Zealand, decided to start making jewelry based on the molecular structure of various vices, such as cocaine, heroin, and LSD.
 
Overdose molecular necklace
“Overdose” molecular necklace
 
Hennessy laser-cuts her 3D designer drugs from lightweight stainless steel in various finishes, and the results are quite stunning. In some cases, Hennessy combines the addictive molecules, such as LSD and MDMA (a practice known as “candy flipping” if you’re into that kind of thing), to create a wearable drug cocktail without all the nasty side effects. Hennessy even created a piece called “Overdose” (pictured above) that combines the molecular images of the following drugs: LSD, psilocybin (psychedelic mushrooms), cocaine, DMT (the powerful psychedelic dimethyltryptamine), THC (marijuana), and MDMA (Ecstasy/Molly). Trippy.
 
LSD molecular necklace
“LSD” molecular necklace
 
There are also a few less life-threatening vices in Hennessy’s collection such as chocolate and caffeine, as well good-vibe neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin, among others. The pieces in Hennessy’s collection will run you anywhere from $25 to $95 and can be purchased on her website, Aroha Silhouettes. More images of Hennessy’s druggy designs follow. 
 
Cannabis molecular necklace
“Cannabis” molecular necklace
 
DMT molecular necklace
“DMT” molecular necklace
 
MDMA molecular necklace
“MDMA” molecular necklace
 
Psilocybin (magic mushroom) molecular necklace
“Psilocybin” (magic mushroom) molecular necklace
 
Heroin molecular necklace
“Heroin” molecular necklace
 
Methamphetamine molecular necklace
“Methamphetamine” molecular necklace
 
Ketamine (Special K) molecular necklace
“Ketamine (Special K)” molecular necklace
 
Oxycontin molecular necklace
“Oxycontin” molecular necklace
 
THC molecular necklace
“THC” molecular necklace

Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
‘Ennuigi’: Nintendo for pretentious existentialists


 
English-speakers might say “existential despair,” among a number of different terms. Germans refer to Weltschmerz. As is often the case, the French have the perfect term to represent a somewhat intellectualized world-weariness that positively cries out for a pack of Gitanes. The term is ennui, and it’s so useful that we’ve incorporated it into our language. Using a French term gives the depression that extra bit of useless panache.

A game designer named Josh Millard has created the perfect Nintendo-style game to match that mood—it is called Ennuigi, and in it you can “spend some time with a depressed, laconic Luigi as he chain smokes and wanders through a crumbling Mushroom Kingdom, ruminating on ontology, ethics, family, identity, and the mistakes he and his brother have made.”

Did I mention you can play it? Yes. You can play it.

Here is the complete list of controls:
 

left/right: walk around
up: ruminate
down: smoke

 
That’s right. You can walk left or right, but jumping? Jumping is not consistent with ennui!

 

Ennuigi in mid-rumination
 
Here’s Millard’s fuller description of the game:

This is a shot at a collection of ideas I had a few years ago, about looking critically at the universe of Super Mario Bros. in light of the total lack of explicit narrative in the original game in particular.  Who are these strange men?  What motivates them?  By what right do they wreak the havoc they do on this strange place?  What do they feel about where they are and what they’re doing?

And so, this is one lens through which to look at all that, with Luigi, the second brother, the also-ran, as a complicit onlooker, wandering now through some fractured, rotting liminal place in this strange world, reflecting on it all in scattered fragments.

 
The slow, tinny music is a perfect complement to this dreary, Beckettian video game.
 

 
via Internet Magic
 

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Booze in space! Suntory sending whiskey into orbit, in search of a smoother product
08.03.2015
10:08 am

Topics:
Drugs
Science/Tech

Tags:
Suntory
whiskey
outer space


 
Suntory is possibly best known to American moviegoers as the client that brought “Bob Harris” to Japan to film a commercial, in Sofia Coppola’s 2003 gem Lost in Translation. It’s Japan’s oldest whisky distillery, and if that causes you suppose that it is in any way dusty or not keeping up with the current trends in whiskeyology, note that just last year its Yamazaki Single Malt Sherry Cask 2013 secured the award for “Best Whisky in the World.”

Not only that, Suntory recently announced that it intends to send some of its delightful spirits to age in outer space. They suspect that the zero-gravity environment may result in nothing less than the smoothest whiskey ever produced.

Take that, Wild Turkey!

According to RocketNews24,
 

Suntory will be sending six varieties of whiskey, aged for 10, 18, and 21 years, along with recently distilled beverages, to outer space as part of an experiment. Their theory is that the weightlessness of space will result in a smoother aged whiskey than is possible to attain on Earth. Employees at JAXA’s Tsukuba City Space Center in Ibaraki Prefecture recently prepared glass flasks that will be used to transport the spirits when Konotori Vehicle 5 (HTV-5) launches from JAXA’s Tanegashima Space Center on August 16.

The whiskey samples will be left on the International Space Station for an unspecified number of years before being brought home to be inspected. Unfortunately for drink connoisseurs, Suntory has already stated that they have no plans to sell space whiskey as a product to the general public.

 
“No plans” is discouraging but that sounds like, if it goes as well as they hope, they’ll be selling it as soon as they can make it work. Now I’m envisaging an Alien or Independence Day-type movie where the first contact with sinister extraterrestrials occurs when they chance upon a satellite full of delicious Suntory product and they invade Earth in order to…... party on a grander scale with the geniuses who developed it.

Ridley Scott: call me.
 

 
via Huh.
 

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Funky glasses give you psychedelic visual effects without LSD
07.28.2015
10:00 am

Topics:
Drugs
Science/Tech

Tags:
LSD
optometry


 
Supplying more fun than can reasonably be expected at the optician’s, these intriguing lenses created by Hungarian designer Bence Agoston for a 3D printer enable psychedelic visual experiences while requiring the insertion of round optical lenses into the waiting slots—the effects include “a landscape modified by combinations of colors and patterns.” Anyone who remembers Dr. Timothy Leary might hear in those words connection to good ol’ lysergic acid diethylamide, which, even in this age of rampant drug legalization, is still a Schedule I controlled substance.

The glasses came about through a class project in which each student was assigned another student for whom they were tasked with designing some personal object. Agoston and his classmate quickly found a connection in music, so he looked to design an item that would enhance the experience of listening to music. Said Agoston,
 

The person for whom I was designing, whose name I pulled from a hat, first had to get to know each other to see if we could find a common point. I interviewed my “client” and luckily he really likes music and he always listens to music while he is traveling. That became the point for our connection because I also love music, but I just listen to it, really a first stage kind of activity. When embarking on this project my goal was to take it to a second stage and give the user a way to experience music by both listening to it and altering their visual experience of it.

 
The frames are 3D-printed in ABS plastic and can accept up to three of the set of six patterned lenses. The lenses can be rotated in relationship to each other to provide a virtually endless array of psychedelic viewing experiences, which work especially well when looking out of the window of a moving vehicle. The glasses also partially obscure vision, so it’s quite clear that the glasses should in all instances be worn by passengers, not drivers.

Amusingly, Agoston based his selection of colors to use in his lenses on colors most often found on album covers featuring indie psychedelic music, but he may come up with different series of colors for other kinds of music.
 

 
via 3Dprint

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Space brides of 1966!
07.27.2015
11:05 am

Topics:
Fashion
Science/Tech
Sex

Tags:
weddings
outer space


 
When I first saw this video, I was sure that it was shot in London—in 1966 that’s where the crazy fashion energy was, after all. But no, it wasn’t London at all, it was actually New York. I reckon that Matthew Weiner now wants to re-do Season 5 of Mad Men in its entirety just to find a way to work in these incredible bridal fashions. After all, that’s about when Don marries Megan, right? Such a wasted opportunity!!

A terrific find from Kelly Faircloth at Jezebel. The AP Archive headline for this clip is “Futuristic and outlandish fashions for brides from 1966,” but you really can’t beat Jezebel’s triumphant invocation of “SPACE BRIDES”!

These designs came from Edythe Vincent at Alfred Angelo—Vincent was actually Angelo’s wife, appropriately enough. I’m not 100% sure but I believe that the promotional text for this presentation ran,
 

Bridal gown for weddings in outer space! Styled by for Alfred Angelo’s “Bridal Fashions in the Year 2000” collection. Mod mini skirt of open air knit crochet stitch and vinyl plastic, with boots to match. The sky diver’s helmet lends an authentic feeling of jet propulsion for the forward look of the 21st century

 
Faircloth recommends scoring this wholly soundless bit of fashion footage (more than 8 minutes long!) with David Bowie’s “Space Oddity.” Nailed it…...
 

 
via Pictorial
 

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Walls that spray piss back on public urinators have arrived in the USA
07.24.2015
01:57 pm

Topics:
Crime
Science/Tech

Tags:
San Francisco


 
In March DM reported on activists in Germany who, seeking to discourage drunken revelers from urinating in public, had applied special liquid-repelling paint to certain walls which would have the effect of redirecting the stream back towards, say, the malefactor’s own pant legs.

Today the San Francisco Chronicle is reporting that the city of San Francisco is using the identical technique. Public Works Director Mohammed Nuru commented, “We are piloting it to see if we can discourage people from peeing at many of our hot spots. ... Nobody wants to smell urine. We are trying different things to try to make San Francisco smell nice and look beautiful.”
 

[Nuru] demonstrated a painted wall’s effectiveness at the 16th Street Bart Plaza Thursday. A sign reading, “Hold it! This wall is not a public restroom. Please respect San Francisco and seek relief in an appropriate place,” hung above it. It doesn’t explicitly state that the wall will fire back, so some surprises are in store.

“Watch your shoes over there, brother,” Nuru said, spraying water from a plastic bottle against the pee-proof wall. The liquid splashed right back, soaking the bottom of his pants. “The team that did the testing, they were excited because the liquid bounces back more than we thought it would. Anything we can do to deter people is a good thing.”

 
The experiment in Hamburg’s St. Pauli neighborhood captured the attention of San Francisco officials. “Based on Hamburg, we know this pilot program is going to work,” Nuru said. “It will reduce the number of people using the walls. I really think it will deter them.”

The paint was applied in “nine urine-repellent walls in the Tenderloin, the Mission and South of Market,” with more to come. We can’t tell you where in San Francisco you are safe from the splattery technique, so we advise taking your binge drinking habits to Oakland for the time being.

Here’s a video from San Francisco Public Works demonstrating the paint:
 

 
via SFist

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
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