Over the next decade, changes in computing power will enable teams of hi-tech drones to operate virtually on their own, or as “robotic wingmen” to piloted aircraft, said Werner Dahm, the Air Force’s former top scientist. At a testing range in the Arizona desert, Apache helicopters are flying together with unmanned choppers in experiments the Pentagon believes will serve as an eventual model for future warfare. “We’re not far away from having a single piloted Apache or other helicopter system and a larger number of unmanned systems that fly with that,” said Dahm, a professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at Arizona State University.
On Monday, Kit Kat will distribute six chocolate bars that have a GPS tracker inside them. Once they’ve been discovered by a hungry customer — and hopefully not via an emergency visit to a doctor after they’ve been digested — they can get activated. Then, a team will go out and deliver a 10,000 pound prize directly to him or her, wherever they happen to be.
OOH posters fitted with NFC touchpoints will let users check in on the competition as well, and find out, Willy Wonka style, how many GPS Kit Kats are left.
It was 7.45am on June 30 last year when the senior, longstanding broker for PVM Oil Futures was contacted by an admin clerk querying why he’d bought 7m barrels of crude in the middle of the night.
The 34-year old broker at first claimed he had spent the night trading alongside a client. But the story began to fall apart when he refused to put the customer in touch with his desk for official approval of the trades.
By 10am it emerged that Mr Perkins had single-handedly moved the global price of oil to an eight-month high during a “drunken blackout”. Prices leapt by more than $1.50 a barrel in under half an hour at around 2am – the kind of sharp swing caused by events of geo-political significance. Ten times the usual volume of futures contracts changed hands in just one hour.
Protesters carry a replica of military drone plane during a demonstration in Charlotte, North Carolina, September 4, 2012 ahead of the opening of the Democratic National Convention. (Mladen Antonov/AFP/Getty Images), via Baltimore Sun Darkroom
All bad photos are alike, but each good photograph is good in its own way. The bad photos have found their apotheosis on social media, where everybody is a photographer and where we have to suffer through each other’s “photography” the way our forebears endured terrible recitations of poetry after dinner. Behind this dispiriting stream of empty images is what Russians call poshlost: fake emotion, unearned nostalgia. According to Nabokov, poshlost “is not only the obviously trashy but mainly the falsely important, the falsely beautiful, the falsely clever, the falsely attractive.” He knows us too well.
Murphy wrote up an Instructable on how he managed it. The response was huge, though Murphy realized not everyone has access to a CNC mill. And as 3D printers continue to proliferate, Murphy recently revisited the project, writing up a second Instructable on how to print, rather than mill, the discs.
Many of us born in the ’70s grew up with these Fisher-Price Record Players, which used plastic discs to play music-box-sounding analog music. I was surprised to see they had recently been re-released—and disappointed to learn the new ones aren’t the same as the old, but instead play the music electronically.
Earlier this year a UK-based tinkerer named Fred Murphy got his hands on some of the original units—you’ll see them pop up on eBay now and then—and decided to make his own records. Using a CNC mill and sheets of acrylic, Murphy successfully produced workable discs.
While we associate this experience specifically with celebrities, we arguably all live in a paparazzi culture now. Cameras are ubiquitous, as is the technology to share and publicise pictures instantly. The throb of surveillance plays out in different ways. On the more benign side are the mild nerves many people feel when an email pops up to tell them they have been tagged in a Facebook photo, an image that could be from any moment in their life – recent or historical – now public, and open for comments.
I can tell you that everybody that attended an Occupy Wall Street protest, and didn’t turn their cell phone off, or put it — and sometimes even if they did — the identity of that cell phone has been logged, and everybody who was at that demonstration, whether they were arrested, not arrested, whether their photos were ID’d, whether an informant pointed them out, it’s known they were there anyway. This is routine.
I can tell you that if you go into any police station right now, the first thing they do is tell you, “Oh I’m sorry you’re not allowed to bring a cell phone in there. We’ll hold it for you.” Not a joke. And by the way it’s a legitimate investigatory technique. But cell phones are now the little snitch in your pocket. Cell phones tell me where you are, what you do, who you talk to, everbody you associate with. Cell phone tells me [sic] intimate details of your life and character, including: Were you at a demonstration? Did you attend a mosque? Did you demonstrate in front of an abortion clinic? Did you get an abortion?
This hotel room is decorated entirely in scannable QR codes, each of which is encoded with a rather saucy surprise. Modez Hotel, located in the Dutch city of Arnhem, contains rooms decorated by over 30 talented designers. The QR Code Room is the work of Antoine Peters, whose goal was to create a room that exists in two worlds at once.
The codes all contain links to (to put it delicately) piquancies. Sexy photos, racy videos, arousing texts and other titillating material are all hiding behind the seemingly tame black and white pixellated patterns. Because, as the designer puts it, “[A]ren’t we surrounded by porn everywhere nowadays?
The result of Peters’ efforts is an abstract world that is secretly hiding a very graphic, adult layer. It is, in many ways, an analogy for the wider world. Our polite daily lives often hide quite a different private side – much as these innocuous black and white furnishings mask a drastically different environment. Once you’ve seen the hidden side, you can never see this hotel room in the same way again.
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On one of my many “walks” through Sunnydale, I had a sudden encounter with a man. I had navigated to the left when this figure abruptly came into view walking toward the camera with his hands in his pockets and wearing a black sweatshirt with a life-size skeleton on it. This encounter literally startled me. Like every other person on StreetView, his face had been blurred out – it was only the suggestion, an inference of a face. At that time, in 2008, Google StreetView imagery on the whole was not very sharp, but it was blurrier in places that for whatever reason were not important enough to whomever to update with sharper imagery, resulting in something like pixel ghettos. Thus zooming in on this man had relatively little effect except to blow up the blurry image on my screen. Actually, the real effect it had was that of acknowledging my own curiosity. It was like a futile leaning-in, a scrutiny of blankness where I imagined, wanted there to be a face. In the utilitarian terms of Google Maps, this man was excess information (it’s not called Google PeopleView). Nonetheless, a human was incidentally caught on the camera while a human (me) on the other side could not help but attempt to read human meaning in the image.
Clicking forward and facing backward, one could watch this man cross the street and disappear into one of the buildings. I returned many times; he was always in the same place, forever crossing the same street into the same building. And always I had the same insatiable curiosity about who this person was and why he was crossing the street and where he had come from and where he was going, and so on.
“Defense distributed as a project, I think, is about the preservation of human dignity in a world of accelerating humanity,” he says. “It’s about collapsing the distinction between digital information and material goods. And ultimately, it may be about that original salvific promise of the free Internet.”
Instead of handing counterfeit designer clothes to customs or trading standards to be destroyed, they are being donated to a charity for redistribution to the homeless and vulnerable.
In just six years, His Church has managed to convince 90% of British Trading Standards authorities to hand over all the fake designer clothes they seize to them.
In fact, the industrial sewing machines they now use to patch over pirated labels were recently given to them by UK customs officials, who had seized the machines from criminal gangs who were using them to create counterfeit clothing.
(I can’t establish provenance of the above image, which comes via Dis Magazine / Oliver Laric, but overlabelling, rebranding and redistributing counterfeit goods can’t just be limited to clothing, can it?)
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The Caldecott Tunnel cuts east from Oakland through the Berkley Hills, linking greater Contra Costa County with the Bay area. To capture the direct emissions of cars and trucks (which often vary greatly from projected emissions) we dangled an air sampler from a ventilation passageway above the busy road. What you hear in the soundscape is an eerie mixture of highly unsaturated compounds called “polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons” (those distinct chirps at the beginning) and complex, saturated heavy hydrocarbons (the long, low droning chords at the end). Both of these result from burning fossil fuels. And many are dangerous carcinogens, mutagens, and teratogens — linked to cancers, gene mutations, and birth and developmental defects.