I bought myself a great
update: typing still challenging...
By Sean Leow From PSFK Shanghai
''During the 1970s, Warrior (回力) brand sneakers were the hottest shoes in China — its bright, clean design a sharp contrast to the drab homogeneity of Communist China. Continuing into the 1980s, the shoe remained a status symbol for Chinese teenagers who were well-off enough to don a pair of famous Warriors.
But as China opened up economically, so did the marketplace for sneaker brands. While the 50 year-old Warrior name was still well-known in China, it was no longer well-known as one of the premier Chinese brands. Instead, Warrior shoes became the shoe of the working class — worn by poor construction workers, elderly women and rural citizens looking for a pair of cheap, durable shoes, not an expensive brand name (and mark-up).
Fascinated by this story, a graphic design student from China recently released a photography book which features people wearing Warriors in various areas of China. Each copy of “Book of Warriors” comes with a pair of Warriors. The author, Shumeng Ye, hopes to use the Warrior brand “to tell the story behind the shoes and show a different side of China. Not the industrial and economical power, but the daily life of a country with its own distinctive sneaker culture.”
Interestingly, Warrior-type shoes are making a comeback among the (ironically) hip set, who covet the relative obscurity of the Warrior in Western culture. In Europe, a similar shoe retails for EU 40-50, which is a significant markup over the China price (EU 2-3).
Below are a couple of Shumeng’s Warrior pictures along with the cool retro packaging that some Warrior shoes come in.''
(Pictures from Warrior website)
''Tattoos and physical mutilation are amongst the oldest forms of personal expression and identity. Subcultures have used tattoos as a form of self representation; a visual language communicating personality and status. Philips Design examined the growing trend of extreme body adornment like tattoos, piercing, implants and scarring.
The Electronics Tattoo film expresses the visual power of sensitive technology applied to the human body. The film subtly leads the viewer through the simultaneous emotional and aesthetic transformations between two lovers.''
Check out the film here.
Breathing Earth is an online world map that gives you
a country’s population, birth and death rates, and how much CO2 it
emits.There’s a ticker on the side showing the number of people that have been born, how many have died, and how
much CO2 has been emitted since you opened the URL. As you watch, the
countries change from beige to yellow, to flashing red as they emit
Understanding the world population is hindered by the sheer size of the task. We can measure numbers and statistics, but the reality of 6.5 billion people is infinitely more difficult to comprehend. While no project could accurately portray the life experiences of each one of us, looking at a representative sample of 100 is a more manageable place to begin, and is a figure we can actually visualize. It is our hope that this work will inspire others to see the world in a new way. Who are the people each of us shares our neighborhood, community, town, school, and country with? Where does each of us fit in?
The project will find and capture in film, photography, music and text 100 individuals who represent the global population, proportionate to annual global surveys and statistics. This World Portrait will be used to make an introduction between the peoples of the earth and to facilitate a greater understanding of the diversity and the commonalities among us.
From The Boston Globe
How Business Can Save The World
A provocative study suggests that enlightened management philosopies can spread from the office -- and change societies
By Matthew Battles for The Boston Globe
Published 17 February 2008
When Milton Friedman famously stated that "the social responsibility of business is to increase profits," he furnished ammunition to both free market evangelists and their critics. Where libertarians see profit as the basis of stability and opportunity, others see only greed and rapine. The relationship between the bottom line and the betterment of society is a fraught one, and politicians, social critics, and tycoons have long battled over where the proper nexus of ethics, philanthropy, and profitability lies.
All have tended to agree, however, that the effects of business are primarily driven by economics: nations that are trading partners are unlikely to risk wealth by waging war on one another; rising salaries offer workers welfare and security; increased profits lead to flourishing philanthropy.
But new research suggests that business can have an important -- and positive -- cultural impact as well. Companies that empower their employees to cut costs in the workplace not only improve their bottom lines, but also may foster civic engagement and contribute to peace in the societies where they operate, according to research published in the November 2007 issue of the Journal of Organizational Behavior.
Full article here
''A reader found this intricately captioned illo of Kim Jong Il in a bar bathroom in Okinawa. The letters above his middle finger say: "I am the last dictator of the 20th century. Fuck you!"
''…So what’s this about quantum physics? Oh, right. Well, I kind of identify the branching-paths effect in the video with the Everett-Wheeler “Many Worlds Interpretation” of quantum physics. Quantum physics does this weird thing where instead of things being in one knowable place or one knowable state, something that is quantum (like, say, an electron) exists in sort of this cloud of potentials, where there’s this mathematical object called a wavefunction that describes the probabilities of the places the electron might be at a given moment. Quantum physics is really all about the way this wavefunction behaves. There’s this thing that happens though where when a quantum thing interacts with something else, the wavefunction “collapses” to a single state vector and the (say) electron suddenly goes from being this potential cloud to being one single thing in a single place, with that one single thing randomly selected from the different probabilities in the wavefunction. Then the wavefunction takes back over and the cloud of potentials starts spreading out again from that randomly selected point.
A lot of scientists really don’t like this “collapse” thing, because they’re uncomfortable with the idea of nature doing something “at random”. Physics was used to dealing with randomness before quantum physics came along– the physics of gases are all about the statistics of randomly moving gas particles, for example– but those kinds of randomness aren’t assumed to be actually random, just “effectively random” because the interactions of air molecules are so chaotic and complicated that they’re too unpredictable for humans to track. Think about what happens when you roll a die: the number that comes up when the die lands isn’t strictly speaking “random”, it’s absolutely determined by the physics of motion and the velocity at which you let go of the die and so forth. The “randomness” of a die roll isn’t about actual indeterminacy, but rather just a way of talking about your ignorance of how the deterministic processes that control the die operate. Quantum physics, on the other hand, has things that as far as anyone can tell are really, objectively random, with no mechanism producing that randomness and nowhere apparent to stick one.
Since this makes some physicists uncomfortable, they came up with a sort of a philosophical trick: they interpret quantum physics in such a way that they say when there’s more than one possible random outcome of some quantum process, then the different possibilities all happen, in alternate universes. They can’t prove or disprove that this idea is true– from the perspective of someone inside one of these universes, everything behaves exactly the same as if the “wavefunction collapse” really was just picking a random option. But it’s one way of looking at the equations of quantum mechanics, and as far as the mathematics cares it’s as valid as any other. Looking at things this way, if there’s a 3/4 chance of a quantum process doing one thing and a 1/4 chance of it doing the other, then we get three universes where the one thing happens and one universe where the other one does. This does mean that there’s some universe where two seconds ago all of the atoms in your heart spontaneously decided to quantum-tunnel two feet to the left, but in almost every universe this doesn’t happen so we don’t worry about that.
Science fiction authors love this. There’s a bunch of stories out there exploring this idea of a multiverse of infinite possibilities all occurring side by side (the best of these I’ve ever read being Robert Anton Wilson’s Schrödinger’s Cat). Most of these stories get things totally wrong. Science fiction authors like to look at many-worlds like, this morning you could either take the bus to work or walk, so the universe splits in two and there’s one universe where you decided to walk and one universe where you decided to take the bus. This is great for purposes of telling a story, but it doesn’t really work like that. The many-worlds interpretation is all about the behavior of quantum things– like, when does this atom decay, or what angle is this photon emitted at. Whereas human brains are big wet sloppy macroscopic things whose behavior is mostly governed by lots of non-quantum processes like neurotransmitters releasing chemicals.
This said, tiny quantum events can create ripples that have big effects on non-quantum systems. One good example of this is the Quantum Suicide “experiment” that some proponents of the Many-Worlds Interpretation claim (I think jokingly) could actually be used to test the MWI. The way it works is, you basically run the Schrödinger’s Cat thought experiment on yourself– you set up an apparatus whereby an atom has a 50% chance of decaying each second, and there’s a detector which waits for the atom to decay. When the detector goes off, it triggers a gun, which shoots you in the head and kills you. So all you have to do is set up this experiment, and sit in front of it for awhile. If after sixty seconds you find you are still alive, then the many-worlds interpretation is true, because there is only about a one in 1018 chance of surviving in front of the Quantum Suicide machine for a full minute, so the only plausible explanation for your survival is that the MWI is true and you just happen to be the one universe where the atom’s 50% chance of decay turned up “no” sixty times in a row. Now, given, in order to do this, you had to create about 1018 universes where the Quantum Suicide machine did kill you, or copies of you, and your one surviving consciousness doesn’t have any way of telling the people in the other 1018 universes that you survived and MWI is true. This is, of course, roughly as silly as the thing about there being a universe where all the atoms in your heart randomly decided to tunnel out of your body.
But, we can kind of think of the multi-playthrough Kaizo Mario World video as a silly, sci-fi style demonstration of the Quantum Suicide experiment. At each moment of the playthrough there’s a lot of different things Mario could have done, and almost all of them lead to horrible death. The anthropic principle, in the form of the emulator’s save/restore feature, postselects for the possibilities where Mario actually survives and ensures that although a lot of possible paths have to get discarded, the camera remains fixed on the one path where after one minute and fifty-six seconds some observer still exists.''
From the Wall Street Journal
The Cut-and-Paste Personality By Jennifer Saranow for the WSJ Published 15 February Lacking inspiration and a moral compass, some online daters are borrowing other people's witty Web profiles. These identity thieves don't want your money. They want your quirky sense of humor and your cool taste in music. Among the 125 million people in the U.S. who visit online dating and social-networking sites are a growing number of dullards who steal personal profiles, life philosophies, even signature poems. "Dude u like copied my whole myspace," posts one aggrieved victim. Copycats use the real-life wit of others to create cut-and-paste personas, hoping to land dates or just look clever. ... Full article here
''Andrew Bunney of Gimme 5 recently visited the Fish Reflexology Spa on Sentosa Island off the southern coast of Singapore and got to experience hundreds of tiny fish nibbling the dead skin off his feet. He comments, "the sensation feels somewhere between tickling and short electric shocks, and as time goes on, the shocks become harder. By the end your feet will be very smooth and relaxed." It's a truly symbiotic relationship.''
Oakland DJ Amplive has released an eight track album
''After a cease & desist put the breaks on Amplive's Radiohead In Rainbows remix project, the online music community reasonably wondered if the tracks would ever see the light of day. Well, here they are.''
I think this is an amazing idea...
CK12, a non-profit organization launched in 2006, aims to reduce the
cost of textbook materials for the K-12 market both in the US and
worldwide. Using an open-source, collaborative, and web-based
compilation model that can be manifested as an adaptive textbook -
termed the "FlexBook", CK12 intends to pioneer the generation and
distribution of high quality educational web texts. The content
generated by CK12 will serve as both source material for a student's
learning and also, provide an adaptive environment that scaffolds the
learner's journey as he or she masters a standards-based body of
More info here and here
''Sitting on a grass lawn may be pleasant, but it isn’t always elegant
when you’re wearing nice clothes or you have back problems. The people
at Japanese design firm Mindscape
have taken the Chia Pet model and applied it to some pretty rad lawn
furniture. Now you can have the best of both worlds — the soothing,
chlorophyll-filled softness of grass and the ergonomic comfort of
The 5 minute film tells the story of a couple who spot each other
across a crowded street and fall in love. Although everyone else in the
world around them moves backwards, the couple moves forward as they
find each other.