From ETH Institute for Dynamic Systems and Control, Research D’Andrea. Smart spinning discs inside a cube allow it to balance on a corner and conceivably jump to a different corner. See videos.

Check out the other projects, too. Balancing Cube is good. So is Distributed Flight Array. And watch the quadcopters throwing a pole at each other–and catching it. I feel like I’m looking through a time machine. But maybe that means I’m just getting old.


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Hell in a Handbasket: Mannequins with Cameras in Their Eyes – Core77.

Creepy demographic-scanning mannequins deployed in secret, called EyeSee.

From what I see, there is absolutely nothing preventing this technology from being added to anything else that can be fitted with a camera. Like your phone. Or the front door to a car dealership. Or airport. Or a Real Doll.

Compare: the Embodied Avatar, US Customs’ latest lie detection machine. Freaky good at catching liars.


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DIY – Futility Closet.

Conlon Nancarrow wrote music unplayable by human beings, then punched cards for player pianos so that the music could be heard. It is rocking and puts a smile on my face. Not at all as frightening as you might think.

Gyorgy Ligeti discovered some piano pieces in a Paris record store in 1980 and became an early champion, calling the composer “the greatest discovery since Webern and Ives.” Subsequent admirers included John Cage (“Conlon’s music has such an outrageous, original character that it is literally shocking”) and Frank Zappa (“The stuff is fantastic … You’ve got to hear it. It’ll kill you”).

via Boing Boing

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Oceana fish fraud survey reveals widespread mislabeling..

Another worthwhile read. That fish you buy–from the sushi restaurant or even the grocery store–may be mislabeled.

Something I learned about the species escolar, which is often billed as “white tuna”:

To be frankly and bluntly specific – and I’m sorry for this – consumption of escolar causes explosive, oily, orange diarrhea.

Here’s the full report (about the mislabeling, not the escolar).

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Bitter Pill: Why Medical Bills Are Killing Us |

Steven Brill takes time to follow the money. A long article worth every word. Take time to read this and spread the word.

As John Stewart said during his interview with Mr. Brill, reading it is like Chuck Yeager breaking the sound barrier–the further you go the more violently you start to shake. Some, most of the facts he lays out are infuriating.

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3Doodler: The Worlds First 3D Printing Pen by WobbleWorks LLC. — Kickstarter.

Everyone else is blogging about this pen, so I’d better get on it before I look old and crusty. It really is amazing. Draw in 3d. Over $700K at Kickstarter already. They were asking for $30K.

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While we’re talking advanced pens, take a look at Livescribe Sky. Grand St has a good write-up, with video. The secret is the special paper–the pen writes normally with ink but captures everything as an image and uploads wirelessly. And just to blow your mind, the special paper (notebook) has “buttons” on the bottom of each sheet to record and do other stuff.

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SketchBook – SketchBook – Introducing 123D Creature.

Impressive (although I’ve only read, haven’t tried it): model a monster on your iPad in 3d, skin it, render it and even print it in 3d (they send it to you). Now $1.99.

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Blank Process by Clement Valla | TRIANGULATION BLOG.

I keep looking at this piece and find myself falling deeper into it. It’s nicely done, the multiple layers and representations of looking and the idea of looking. Even the reproduction on this website can be seen as another representation, and I love that Triangulation, which usually is so eloquent, presents this one so matter-of-factly. As if the holes in the wall have come alive and are trying to be known.

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