Falling down under

^ Surfer in collage snapped at the Archigram exhibition this weekend, at the Design Museum.

The exhibition and Archigram have been written about nicely by Dan, so I’ll just remark that it left me feeling elegiac, for a fallen future we used to picture; full of the psychedelic technologies of freedom.

The schemes, epigrams and illustrations looked like they were straight out of the pages of The Invisibles, or at least an imaginary Homes and Gardens feature on Mister Six.

It was interesting to visit with an art-director friend of mine, who was looking at it more through the lens of graphic design, and how the work has influenced recent graphic artists and commercial imagery.

Off down under for a couple of weeks, for some sun, surf and switch-off. I’ll leave you with this from The Guardian Review, a passage on Falling (and surfing) from Nicholas Lezard’s review of “Falling” by Garrett Soden:

“There are primatologists and anthropologists who suggest that it was a very strongly vested interest in not falling that led to our development of consciousness. Smaller animals, such as chimps, need not fear the consequences of a drop from the trees as much as we, or other great apes, such as orang-utans, who climb slowly and with deliberate caution. Besides, we have spent far more time, if you examine our family tree, up that tree than on the ground. With quite sophisticated balance skills, we are certainly very good at controlled falling: skiing, skateboarding, hang-gliding, mountaineering. Captain Cook was flabbergasted at the surfers of Hawaii: a lieutenant on the Discovery commented that the Hawaiians’ skill was “scarce to be credited”.

Surfing, for them, was a matter of deep religious significance, and when the Calvinist missionaries arrived, Soden writes, “a gravity sport was attacked as the devil’s work” – and not for the first time. Falling has always been metaphorically consistent in this regard: it is not approved of.”

Back in May.

The philosopher and the thermostat


Daniel Dennett profile in today’s Guardian

“He’s famous among philosophers as an extreme proponent of robot consciousness, who will argue that even thermostats have beliefs about the world. This argument turns out to be more about what constitutes our own beliefs than about the inner life of a thermostat. Part of this is because he uses the term “opinions” for the kind of conscious and considered ideas about the world that many people would mean by beliefs. He doesn’t think a thermostat is conscious. But he thinks its behaviour embodies assumptions about the world, and these can’t be distinguished, in their effects on the world, from beliefs: “Intentional systems have beliefs, or as-good-as beliefs. I use the word beliefs for the intentional states of all of them, including the notorious thermostat. But we have opinions as well as beliefs.”

Entire US captured in 20 days

Not an update of the current nasty geopolitical situation, but something from The Google CityBlock Project [found via ChrisDodo’s del.icio.us]

This aims to produce a visual search of the urban environment. In one of their presentations they have an estimate of how long it would take to acquire images of the US’s entire commercial streetscape:

  • “~2.4 million miles of paved road in the U.S.
  • We estimate that about ~1% are commercial
  • With a high speed camera (~250 fps), we can capture driving at about 10 mph
  • It would take approximately 100 days worth of driving time to capture the entire commercial U.S.
  • Spread among 20 vehicles and allowing 6 hours of capture time per day, it would require approximately 20 days of acquisition”

So, very impressive in capturing images of the city; but what about the Image Of The City that we actually perceive? Schyuler and Rich’s excellent tutorial at EtCon made this distinction plain.

However I guess – as ever with Google – worth keeping a close eye on.

Iteration’s what you need

From the N-Gage site today:

“The N-Gage QD game deck has all the gaming features of the original game deck, plus a few welcome adjustments – like hot swap for your game cards. We trimmed off the MP3 player (and some of the price!), gave it a slick, non-sidetalking design, and shrunk it all down so it fits better in your pocket… Hey, you talked, we listened!”

Seeing phone design iteration cycles in the console world, even the portable gaming world is exciting – also that the N-Gage folk got the joke, listened, acted and then co-opted the gag…

Stay on topic!

“Stay On Topic: This mailing list is by and for those who practice interaction design. All discussions on this email list must relate to interaction design. This can include discussions of sister disciplines such as information architecture, visual design, etc. but only as they relate to interaction design. For example, a conversation on color theory would be out of place, but one about the best highlight color for buttons would fine for discussion. For a draft definition of interaction design go to our web site at interactiondesigners.com.”

Oh boy.

My inner-masochist has driven me to subscribe.

I’ll see how I do…

Wake up

From Barbelith:

“…imagine what would happen to Pulp Fiction if, when the character of Jules looked into the briefcase, he “woke up” in mid-scene and not only realized that he was a character in a movie, but also realized that he “was” also Mace Windu and Shaft and a bunch of other characters in realities he can scarcely comprehend, while also glimpsing an uber-reality where all of those realities are just movies and he’s an actor called Samuel L. Jackson.”

Happy Eostre. I’m off back to Wales.