Category Archives: Arts and Culture

Plant Sex and Robot Operas

We are back after a bit of an absence! On this podcast, Cathi Bond talks about the Plant Sex Consultancy, a design concept for helping plants pollinate in an era of problems like bee hive collapse or changes brought about by commercial breeding (via PSFK). With a wink, the Plant Sex Consultancy aims to protect plants from STIs, give plants vibrators to shake pollen loose and more. Underneath it all, they seem to be making a point about the problems we humans create, and our anthropocentric approach to solving those problems. Meanwhile, Nora Young talks about composer Keiichi Shibuya's plans for an all-robot performance (via The Globe and Mail). It got Nora thinking about all the tech innovation happening in live performance now, such as the play Helen Lawrence, which was recently in Toronto. You can watch a sample from Shibuya's previous opera, The End, which featured the virtual pop star Hatsune Miku and computer-created music. You can watch a sample, below. Nora also mentioned this post about public wifi insecurity. Hat tip to her colleague, Dan Misener. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uyh99RH-sqs

Print Your Own Makeup and Self-Promotion or Selling Out?

Hi there! On today's podcast, Cathi Bond wonders whether you'd print out your own makeup? Grace Choi wants to convince you to. She's the founder of Mink, which aims to market a 3D printer for makeup. Part of the reason, according to this interview, is that she wants to offer a broader range of shades to reflect the diversity of women's skin tones. You can watch the video of her speaking at TechCrunch's Disrupt NY below. Meanwhile, Nora Young talks about the trend towards authors getting fans and friends not just to buy their books, but to promote them as well. It seems like a trend for selling and marketing all kinds of things, but when does it just become too much? Are Cathi and Nora missing the boat by not doing this with their books?

Art For Everyone and Fuel for Creativity

Hey, trendwatchers! This time on the podcast, Cathi Bond talks about "Stockholm is Your Canvas" a project of Stockholm Art Week, to make billboard space in downtown Stockholm available to anyone who wants to submit their digital art, in a revolving series of 30 second intervals (via PSFK). What would your ideas be for making public art more...public? Nora Young mentions an interview with Rick Barrack, Chief Creative Officer at CBX, a branding firm. He talks about bringing the physical and the tactile into the creative process (via Fast Company). Nora and Cathi love sticky notes (NY particularly likes ones from Muji). What are your physical cues for creativity?

Control With Gestures and Selfie Money

Apologies for the absence, but we're back! This time, Nora talks about Ring, a very cool project on Kickstarter (via Core77). You tap the side of the ring, then use finger gestures to control your various devices. Check out the video and let us know if you'd use this. Are Minority Report style gestural interfaces the future, or will we stick with our phones and purpose-built devices? Cathi brings you the story of "selfie money" (via PSFK). Artist Jonathan Keats has an ironic proposal for saving cash money: appeal to our narcissism by printing bills with 'selfie' images of individuals on it! Nora also mentions Duolingo, the fun, free online language learning website she's been using. Check it out!

The Sniffer, June 2nd, 2013: Trends in Books, A.I., Tree-houses, and Data

This time around, we do a bit of a debrief about Cathi Bond's book launch. Nora Young talks about an upcoming episode of Nora's show Spark, on the future of work, and wonders what are the jobs that humans - for sure - can do, that A.I. programs can't down the road. She mentions this New Scientist article on A.I. taking on some functions traditionally performed by judges. You can find some of Spark's past coverage on this issue here and here. So, what do you think? Based on how A.I. is progressing, what would you advise young people to go into as a career? Cathi's obsession with nests, cocoons, and tree-houses continues. This time it's a model rainforest in Cornwall that includes a very cool tree-house where you can stay over amongst the trees! (Via Gizmag) Nora's obsession with data continues as well. This time, it's a neat project launched by Intel's R&D wing and some TED fellows: We The Data is a platform for thinking up democratic approaches to data use (via Technology Review) Along the way, Nora refers to research at MIT, and practical uses of feature phone data.

The Sniffer, Jan 20th, 2013: Trends in Baby Tech, Analog, and TVs

On this trendwatching podcast, Cathi Bond and Nora Young are back from a midwinter break with some wacky stories that nonetheless point to bigger trends. Cathi has two examples of tech for babies. There's the Bubble Baby futuristic, self-cleaning crib, which Cathi and Nora would both like for themselves (via Gizmag), and the slightly more dubious sounding iPotty (via Gizmag). Nora looks at The Polaroid Cacher, a very cool art project which is built off a vintage polaroid camera (via Prosthetic Knowledge). Essentially, it recreates the experience of taking instamatic snapshots, but in this case, it captures your digital, on-screen interactions. It's part of a trend we've looked at before on The Sniffer, and on Nora's show, Spark, of combining the digital and the mechanical or analog. Why do we love this stuff so much? Finally, Cathi saw this Samsung easel TV which came out of this year's CES (via Paste Magazine). She points to it as part of a flood of new TV designs. What would it take you to invest in a new TV?

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Nora Young mentions Springwise's story about the Clarion Hotel in Stockholm, 30mg Motilium, Motilium paypal, which now accepts art by artists as barter payment for a night's stay in the hotel. It has Nora wondering whether the barter economy could make the leap from peer-to-peer, Motilium overseas, 50mg Motilium, to individual-business bartering. More on the barter economy from Business Week, Motilium ebay, Motilium us, here.

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