Monthly Archives: March 2016

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Journey Back to the Dreamy, Gorgeous Architecture of Utopia Slide: 1 / of 8 . Caption: Architectural design by Bruce Goff—referred to in The Tale of Tomorrow as the “godfather” of the organic architecture movement. This circular interior is from the Glen Harder House in Mountain Lake, Minnesota. Bruce Goff/Gestalten Slide: 2 / of 8 . Caption: The exterior of the Glen Harder House, by Bruce Goff,.with all its Asian pagoda influences, is seen here by Bruce Goff.Bruce Goff/Gestalten Slide: 3 / of 8 . Caption: Architectural design by Eero Saarinen. The Trans World Flight Center remains one is his most renown designs.Eero Saarinen/Gestalten Slide: 4 / of 8 . Caption: The Sheats/Goldstein Residence, by John Lautner, was made widely famous in The Big Lebowski. Recently, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art bought it.John Lautner/Gestalten Slide: 5 / of 8 . Caption: National Assembly Building of Bangladesh by Louis […]

Hey Remember That Time Gremlins 2 Parodied Donald Trump? Joe Dante needed a bad guy. It was the late ’80s, and the director of hits like Innerspace and The ‘Burbs was working on the long-awaited sequel to the biggest hit of his career: Gremlins, the 1984 creature-feature that made “don’t feed them after midnight” an ominous national catchphrase and inspired mogwai-conservation efforts around the globe.Warner Bros. had promised Dante full creative control for part two, and while he had a setting (New York) and a storyline (Gremlins getting Gremlinish in a super-smart midtown building), he needed inspiration for the movie’s villain, a vain and wealthy real estate developer with a carefully tamed coif and a brash Manhattan manor. “At that time in New York City,” remembers Dante, “there was one major character who was Mr. Billion”—Donald Trump. Which is how Dante—with co-screenwriter Charlie Haas (Over the Edge) and producer Michael Finnell—cooked […]

MIT’s Clever New Drone Draws What You Do. Mostly Click to Open Overlay GalleryMIT Lab Humans have always used tools to create art, but paintbrushes, pens, and chisels don’t have an agenda of their own; they bend to the will of the person wielding them. But a project by students at the MIT Media Lab’s Fluid Interfaces Group ponders what happens when a machine has a voice in the artistic process. In this case, the machine is a drone, and that drone is essentially a flying phantograph. As a human draws with a pen, a camera captures the motion and a computer communicates it to the drone, which mimics what the pen is drawing. In the video you see a person make a sweeping gesture across a canvas with the pen; the drone mirrors it, creating a similar mark on its own canvas. It isn’t without hiccups. “When a pen attached to the drone […]

 Netflix Is No Net Neutrality Hypocrite for Slowing Down Video Netflix, one of the most outspoken corporate champions of net neutrality, admitted this week that it sends lower quality video to mobile subscribers on AT&T and Verizon’s networks.Streaming video is data-intensive, and Netflix says many subscribers worry that watching video on a phone will max out their monthly mobile data allowance. Hence the company’s rationale for throttling video quality to mobile Internet providers that ding customers who exceed their data caps. If Netflix wants to send a lower quality feed to AT&T mobile subscribers, nothing about the principles of network neutrality bars it from doing so. And it’s the concept of data caps, or the idea that mobile providers must limit the amount of data subscribers use because of network congestion or other issues, and not net neutrality, at the heart of Netflix’s argument for throttling video. You could argue there […]

Way to Go, FCC. Now Manufacturers Are Locking Down Routers Hey, remember when the FCC reassured us last year that it wasn’t going to lock down Wi-Fi routers? And everyone breathed a sigh of relief, because custom router firmware is actually a really good thing? Sure, it’s fun to improve your router by extending the range or making your network friendlier for guests. But open firmware is important for other reasons: it enables critical infrastructure, from emergency communications for disaster relief and building free community access points to beefing up personal security.Well, there goes that. Because even though the FCC said its new requirements were not intended to lock down router software or block the installation of open source firmware, at least one large manufacturer has reacted by doing just that. And more could follow.Way to go, FCC. Last month, Libre Planet—a free software community—raised the alarm that TP-Link, one […]

Thank a Man Named Junkie XL for Batman v Superman’s Ominous Sound The first time composer Tom Holkenborg—better known by his nom de boom, Junkie XL—heard his music in a film, it wasn’t part of the score. It was in the movie Blade, which opens with his track “Dealing with the Roster” playing as a crowd of blood-soaked vampires dances at a rave. (Hey, it was 1998.) It was one song in one film, but it changed how Holkenborg saw his future. “I was so surprised by how my music worked [when set] to picture that I really wanted to pursue that,” Holkenborg recalls. Nearly 20 years later, Junkie XL isn’t an obscure electronic musician who gets an occasional song in a film. He’s the unmistakable mastermind behind three of the biggest films of the past year: Mad Max: Fury Road, Deadpool, and now, alongside tentpole composer stalwart Hans Zimmer, […]

 Vizio’s Brilliant, Affordable HDR Sets Come With Their Own Tablets Vizio has been owning the home entertainment market lately by selling excellent televisions for bargain prices, putting sub-$1,000 price tags on great sets with all the latest tech packed inside.The company is still at it: Vizio’s new 2016 P Series of TVs offer the same features found in the company’s super-expensive Reference Series, but at more affordable pricing that starts at $1,000. If you don’t need the extra dimming zones and sunshine-bright backlight systems of the $6,000-and-up Reference Series panels, the new P-series sets are a steal. These P-Series Vizios aren’t just 4K TVs, they’re HDR 4K TVs. HDR-capable sets can produce very bright highlights, making fireballs and shimmering water appear incredibly lifelike. They can also display inky blacks, making all the details in a dim scene really pop. Basically, HDR should be at the top of the New Things […]

 Apple’s March 21 Event in Cupertino First CareKit app is for Parkinson’s, so people can see over time what’s affecting their health. Six places, already, using the app to individualize and improve treatments. David Pierce03-21-2016 | 01:21:51 They literally know more about you than you know about yourself. Brian Barrett03-21-2016 | 01:21:46 The amount of data they can pull from Apple gear is pretty remarkable as well! And also a subtle reminder (or at least should be) of how important the security on these devices is. Brian Barrett03-21-2016 | 01:21:36 Jeff Williams   CareKit is a new thing, a framework for apps that help people take a more active role in their care. David Pierce03-21-2016 | 01:21:17 Now we’re talking about how Research Kit and Health can affect care. Knowing how people are doing over time, and feeding them nonstop data, is really important. David Pierce03-21-2016 | 01:20:58 For the […]

Apple Needs a New Reason for You to Buy an iPad If the rumors are true, which they always are, Apple is about to announce a new 9.7-inch iPad. Woo boy, you’re saying—Another iPad, just like the ones that come out every year, whose sales are sinking like a horse in quicksand? Well, yes and no. Mostly yes. But a little bit no.The new iPad, which will either be called “the smaller iPad Pro” or “the iPad Air 3,” unless Jony Ive heeds my advice and calls it “the Goldilocks iPad,” will reportedly take most of its design cues from the 12.9-inch iPad Pro. It’ll have the same four speakers, the same high-end performance, the same nifty magnetic accessory connector and keyboard case. It’ll have a camera flash, for those of you who like taking pictures with a massive, 9.7-inch device. It’ll even reportedly support the Apple Pencil, which will […]

 The Psychology Behind the Violence at Trump Rallies In the late 19th century, French psychologist slash physicist slash anthropologist Gustave LeBon came up with the idea that being part of a crowd turned normal people into barbarians. LeBon believed civilized men (for the most part) lost their will, control, and ability to reason when they became part of a crowd. This theory of “mob psychology” held sway for decades, and still appeals to our notion that crowds of people make us act crazy.Much of LeBon’s research came from studying the far-right nationalism and anti-Semitism that swept France during that era. So do his theories of mob violence and loss of identity explain the violence at potential Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s political rallies?Well, probably not. More likely than a loss of identity is a shift—from individual to collective. “People don’t lose control, but they begin to act with collective values,” […]

How a Brilliant TV Composer Moved on Up to 10 Cloverfield Lane Thanks to memorable performances from John Goodman and Mary Elizabeth Winstead, 10 Cloverfield Lane more than justifies its existence as a notable spiritual sequel to 2008’s Cloverfield—but it may be most notable for proving out producer J.J. Abrams’ eye for talent. Just as Abrams tapped director Matt Reeves (Dawn of the Planet of the Apes) and writer Drew Goddard (Cabin in the Woods, Marvel’s Daredevil) for the original nearly a decade ago, 10 Cloverfield Lane introduces promising talent behind the scenes. It’s the directorial debut of Dan Trachtenberg, who helmed the short film Portal: No Escape—a game franchise Abrams stated yesterday he’d still like to adapt into a feature. And as soundtrack fans may already know, it’s the big-budget film debut of one of television’s most revered composers, Bear McCreary.If you’ve watched some of the highest-rated and most discussed series on television […]

When Trump Lies, It Undermines the Promise of the Internet Whether you watched it all unravel on television or on Twitter, it was hard to look away from the ugly scene in Chicago last weekend. Inside the stadium where Donald Trump was set to speak, thousands of his supporters and protesters threw punches, yelled racial slurs, and ripped at each other’s signs in what was the most violent clash of Trump’s perpetually rowdy campaign. The scene was so chaotic that even before the fights broke out, Trump’s campaign canceled his appearance citing “security concerns.” That was Friday night. By Monday morning, Trump was on stage in Hickory, North Carolina, telling the crowd gathered before him that his rallies aren’t violent. Instead, he said, they’re “love fests.” “There’s no violence,” he claimed. “There’s none, whatsoever.” It was a statement so glaringly fallacious it would be shocking were it not coming from the […]

So, About That ‘Tiny Hands’ Trump Chrome Extension… Yesterday, I installed the Drumpfinator. This is the famous Chrome extension, launched by John Oliver’s Last Week Tonight, that replaces the word “Trump” with “Drumpf”—his ancestral name—everywhere it appears in your browser. I wanted to understand the appeal of these extensions, and why they have emerged as a cultural force over the course of the last few weeks. You can install extensions that replace Trump’s name with “your drunk uncle at Thanksgiving,” or that add actual Trump quotes every time his name appears, or that remove any mention of him whatsoever.This goes beyond Trump: such target text-swap extensions first started about five years ago as a means of scrubbing away celebrities’ names from your news feed. By now, you can also change “millennials” to “snake people,” or scrub any reference to Hillary Clinton or Kim Kardashian, or substitute a list of words, suggested by […]

How to Watch the Total Solar Eclipse if You’re on the Wrong Side of the Planet On March 8 and 9, the moon will throw some serious shade on Southeast Asia during a total solar eclipse. A partial solar eclipse will be visible to a wider area, including Australia, Hawaii, and Alaska. But if you’re not going to be under the moon’s dusky shadow, you can still catch the astronomical event right here on Slooh’s livestream, starting at 6 pm Eastern.The telescope-broadcasting service’s team of astro-experts hauled a mobile observatory to the wilds of Indonesia so they could record the perfectly-aligned Earth, moon, and sun. The group of scientists couldn’t use their fixed stations at other locations because “the path of totality is very narrow,” says Slooh founder Michael Paolucci, “so you have to be in a specific locale.” If the Earth and moon weren’t moving, the darkest part of the moon’s […]

You’ll Eat Bugs. These Investors Are Betting Millions on It Greg Sewitz and Gabi Lewis are used to people laughing at them. Three years ago the two college roommates ordered two boxes of live crickets off the Internet, the sort you might feed your pet iguana. They promptly shoved the two shoebox-sized containers of insects into the freezer. Later, they ground the tiny frozen corpses in a blender and, using Lewis’ own recipe, made a batch of protein bars that replaced whey powder with cricket dust. They thought the bars tasted great, so they started selling them at gyms, health food stores, farmer’s markets and their own online store. It was hard at first. Some people were excited at the thought of eating crickets. They do, after all, pack a lot of protein into a few calories. They even managed to get the bars on shelves in a few natural food […]