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Cathi’s Novel, Night Town
Nora’s Book, The Virtual Self
Hi there, Happy Holidays! Time for our annual Christmas Special full of lots of whimsical toys. This time, Nora Young likes Urbio, a cool looking modular set of plates that you mount on the wall, then attach sleek white pots of various sizes to using magnets. Nora likes the mix-n-match quality of it, and the space saving aspect for those of us without a lot of counter space or window sills. You can use it for planting kitchen herbs or for general storage of small items in a home office. Also, cool: Beer! Nora talks about Collective Arts Brewing, a new craft beer company that features artists of all stripes on the beer labels. They select a curated crop of artists to put on the labels, and you can use the augmented reality app to learn more. Neat-o. Cathi Bond is thinking about experiences and travel this time, and has found two wild places. First is Kulturinsel Einsiedel (Culture Island) a whimsical, huge park near the Germany-Poland border. It features a series of treehouses (you can even spend the night) windmills, and all sorts of fantasy architecture (via Gizmag). She also showcases a wonderful art installation in Russia by Estonian architects Salto: a 170 metre trampoline road. See pics of the road in action over at The Guardian. Fun! And, because it wouldn't be a Sniffer Family Christmas without it, the Christmas Eve scene from The Thin Man:
This time, Cathi Bond talks about the Agrirover, a robot designed to run 24/7 on livestock paddocks, combing the field looking for spots where grazing grass is damaged by, erm, pee (via Scoop). A chat about robots down on the farm ensues. Meanwhile, Nora Young mentions that Motorola has a patent on an "electronic skin tattoo" (temporary!) to transmit voice and also to serve as a power supply (via PCPro, and others). The premise is that it would be a microphone and a power source. For me (Nora) it's interesting mostly as yet another example of how normal implantables and wearables are going to be in the next 5 years or so. In the near term, though, would you use something like this?
This time around, Nora Young point to this Fast Company article on "art thinking". Building on the idea of design thinking, art thinking is about learning from artists' practices and bringing them to non-artistic workplaces. Given that it involves open-ended, seemingly "non-productive" exploration, it might be a tough sell in most businesses, but letting the mind go fallow and explore are necessary parts of creativity. Nora also refers to Kal Spelletich's praying robots. Cathi mentions this freaky video of the latest animal-like robot, the WildCat. Meanwhile, Cathi Bond has been poking around Indiegogo and is impressed by crowdfunding at the tipping point. Sure, it's been around for a while. We even talked about it back in 2008. As it becomes more and more mainstream to fund projects this way, though, how far can it go, and what other funding models might it replace? Nora mentions that Jack Cheng raised money to fund writing a novel this way. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wE3fmFTtP9g
Cathi has a review up at Rabble right now, looking at #lightwebdarkweb: Three Reasons to Reform Social Media Be4 it Re-Forms Us. The book is by author and lecturer Raffi Cavoukian, better known as children's troubadour, Raffi. You can find Cathi's review here. Please check it out!
Hi there! This time around, Nora Young points to a recent Google Glass hackathon (via PSFK), which produced, amongst other things, the GlassFrogger game that re-imagines the old video game Frogger as an augmented reality game for Glass (see below). Fun? Sure, but it's also got Nora thinking about all the cool stuff you could do once you imagine Glass as including a whole app ecosystem. Nora and Cathi talk about the coming world of virtual personal assistants, the forthcoming movie Her, and an upcoming episode of Nora's show, Spark. Cathi Bond has the story of the CouchBunker, a sofa that contains a safe in which you can store up to thirty guns (via Gizmag) It comes complete with bullet resistant cushions. Nora also thinks you should check out this article on the relationship between "gut health" and mental health. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O8wXr3QFXZM
Happy Summer! This time around, Cathi Bond talks about an intriguing opinion piece by Shawn Parr, arguing that someone should bring Kickstarter-style narrative and bootstrapping to the US debt problem (via PSFK) Nora Young mentions this Technology Review profile of neuroscientist Daniela Schiller, about the nature of memory, and how alternatives to drugs may be used to change the way we experience our memories. Does this square with how you think about your own memories? Let us know! In lighter news, Cathi points to chef Robert Ruiz's use of edible QR codes on his sushi (via PSFK). Gimmick? Smart? The Sniffer is off until after Labour Day. Have a great rest of the summer, and see you for season - ack! - NINE in the fall! Nora and Cathi