Category: WTF

The power of Power Point and poultry

I’m going to give a lecture with a lot of slides in two hours. I’m a little nervous, and I’m sharing with you what I think of when I’m nervous before a speech. Then I’m not so “chicken” anymore and it never fails to put a smile on my face. Here is Doug Zongker’s presentation at the AAAS session, February 16, 2007.


Oh, and here’s the paper.


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10 years ago Aīn Taisō/Aīn! Dance no Uta was released. For the 10th Anniversary put on your dancing boots and get ready to be confused!

A drone flying @Motodrone 2009, by Achim Walther.

The galaxy’s most resilient magnet site has a notion to stash its servers where noone can raid them:

We have now decided to try to build something extraordinary.

With the development of GPS controlled drones, far-reaching cheap radio equipment and tiny new computers like the Raspberry Pi, we’re going to experiment with sending out some small drones that will float some kilometers up in the air. This way our machines will have to be shut down with aeroplanes in order to shut down the system. A real act of war.

We’re just starting so we haven’t figured everything out yet. But we can’t limit ourselves to hosting things just on land anymore. These Low Orbit Server Stations (LOSS) are just the first attempt. With modern radio transmitters we can get over 100Mbps per node up to 50km away. For the proxy system we’re building, that’s more than enough. (from TPB website)

Frankly I don’t care if the idea still has its obvious flaws, I love it because they are so out of their mind. It sounds like something out of a cyberpunk novel.

Boing Boing


Video Games nstuff by pantra

Do you perchance know our friend, Pantra? No? Not yet?

You’re in for treat and one heck of a person. You might already know him as “the video game guy” or as “the guy who can fix every console” or “the guy that made that level that time”. He is one of the most pleasantly insane people we know. And he puts a ton of work into his vlog, Video Games nstuff.

I’m delighted that these days there’s a lot of video-game-talk being done and done beautifully, passionately and entertaining, i.e. A Life Well Wasted, GWJ, Giant Bombcast, DGRadio (although not primarily about games anymore) or the fantastic GT Retrospectives.

So I thought I’d start contributing some hopefully enjoyable stories out of my own play history, for I often found listening to other people’s gaming experiences pretty fascinating, sometimes even comforting and uplifting.

There are four episodes so far. If you give him some nice feedback, maybe he’ll make more (soon).


I’ve always been into adventure gaming. Played all the Lucas Arts Games and then some. Also followed whatever “the old heroes” were doing afterwards as they were continuing to create wonderful things. One of these “later” games I especially enjoyed was Tim Schafer’s Psychonauts. So many ideas, so much fun, so much to discover, so many details! Tim Schafer always wanted to make a second part, but couldn’t find a publisher for his not-so-mainstream games. He mentioned this in an interview a few days ago – and out of nothing Markus Persson (aka Notch, aka creator of MINECRAFT) sends him a tweet:

@TimOfLegend Let’s make Psychonauts 2 happen.

followed by:

[…]Also, I’m serious.

So, that already blew my mind.

And while Tim and Notch started chatting about the idea, Double Fine (Tim’s company) already had a second thing coming up:

(You should really watch the video, but here’s a summary: “Help us raise 400.000$ to make an old school point-and-click adventure, we’ll also film the whole development and make a documentary out of it and all you people will be involved in getting this thing done” – now go and watch the video!)

Less than 24 hours later, the kickstarter project has raised more than 800.000$. That’s already the highest amount raised in 24 hours till now for all kickstarter projects. They even have a chance at reaching 1.000.000$. (UPDATE 12.02.2012: They reached 1.000.000$ in under 24 hours. Go Adventure community!)

All the extra money will go into the project of course, into translations, platform conversions, soundtrack, etc. And that’s wonderful. FU Publishers!

Oh, and this is what Notch had to say after the kickstarter raise broke loose:

I can’t get over how incredibly poorly timed my Psychonauts 2 offer thing was, haha. But I’m so excited about this game I don’t care!


Hopefully they still want to do Psychonauts 2 in the future. I’ll keep nagging!

Good times coming up, good times.

Artist or Cheese?

While buying one of these cheeses, I invented this little game.

Riddle me this: Artist – or CHEESE? No google-ing!

….we’d love to black the page – but as we haven’t moved to our own server yet this is not possible right now.
And we’re not even going to explain the whole thing (because there are already SO MANY explanations out there and SERIOUSLY if you haven’t heard/read about that today ON WHICH SIDE OF THE MOON DO YOU LIVE FOR GOD’S SAKE!!!!111) BUTT (haha, BUTT joke) here’s the greatest black out page I’ve seen yet:

…and of course this goes away tomorrow – so here’s the GIF to be kept for eternity:

Japanese Subway Propaganda

A reblog from, received as a tweet by William Gibson (@GreatDismal). Brilliant! Have a gander at these Tokyo Subway Manner Posters, 1976-1982.

Three annoying train monsters (October 1982) – The three annoying train monsters shown in the poster are Nesshii (the sleeping monster), Asshii (the leg-crossing monster), and Shinbunshii (the newspaper-reading monster).


The Seat Monopolizer (July 1976) Inspired by Charlie Chaplin’s “The Great Dictator,” this poster encourages passengers not to take up more seat space than necessary.

Space Invader (March 1979) This 1979 poster pays tribute to the extremely popular Space Invaders video arcade game and encourages passengers to read their newspapers without invading the space of other passengers.

More over at retronaut! Sometimes I wish Europeans would invest as much energy as the Japanese in order to remind people of ‘subway manners’. Also, if they choose to do so, it’s usually not as funny.


Alarm! Alarm! Alarm Clocks?!

Let’s be honest here. ‘Early Bird’ is not my second name. I have been waking up to a radio alarm clock set to a local radio station that manages to piss me off on a regular basis. The only good thing about it that it has a short snooze intervals and natural light. So I have been thinking about how to optimize being woken up. And mumbling “jus gimme finve more minnes” to your co-sleeper just gets less and less polite every day. Waking up is, after all, an important part of your day, well, d’uh, the beginning. Who am I kidding. If that would be true, all my days would be horrible… And although my research for a suitable method of disengaging myself of Morpheus’ realm was a waste of time and turned up nothing, it did lead me into the bizarre abyss of weird alarm clocking. If you want to snooze in horror, follow me!

First off, you got your basic garden variety of jumping, dancing and flying asshole clocks.

Ok, just this last one gets me in a bad mood alerady. Clocky is kind of cute though, reminds me of R2-D2.

And who would ever want to sleep on a LED display? Besides, I doubt that this alarm clock’s strategy to disguise itself as a lovable, ‘happy’ pillow would work on anyone. I despise alarm clocks, and I do not think that “keep your friends close, but your enemies closer” applies here.

Now, let’s look at some modded D.I.Y. varieties. Biggest and loudest go first!

Apparently, alarm clock has gone all web 2.0 without me. There is Sleep.FM, a social alarm clock.

If you still are thinking, “WHAT, friends choose my alarm sound?”, then think of a Social Alarm Clock like waking up to your favorite FM radio station. The only difference is the pleasant sounds that wake you were chosen by friends to start your day off with a smile, a laugh and or a reminder that you are important to them.

… yada yada yada. It connects via Facebook, and it does not support Android (yet).

If you are feeling risky, there is also a “chatroulette” app variety of the social alarm clock. You get a wake-up call by a total stranger.  Or, if noone feels up to the job, by a computer voice. Creepy! Also, the guys who made it got an award for the most useless start-up.

If you want to go all Milgram Experiment on someone, look at this social alarm clock.

“Our tangible prototype was, of all things — an alarm clock. We called it the Trust Alarm Clock. The design brief was simply to make an alarm clock that embodied the principle — an alarm clock that highlighted the idea that trust is a relationship between people. At the same time, it was a platform that allowed us to experiment with this simple principle. As you will see, it is an almost absurd object. But it was the response to the brief that we made, without questioning our motivations, but rather following our curiosity on the topic of Trust.
“The clock is best described directly. It consists of two components. The main component is not unlike a conventional bedside alarm clock. The second sits nearly where one would expect the canonical “snooze” button of a conventional alarm clock. This second piece is a small, removable “fob”.“When one sets the desired time to wake up, the fob is programmed with a digital count down timer.“The alarm setting ritual starts when one sets the wake-up time using a dial on the back of the clock. While doing this, the fob timer is configured so that its count down would expire and the fob would “alarm” when the alarm clock setter would like to wake up. The ritual is completed when the fob is removed from the main component and given to a most trusted friend. In that ritual of handing over the fob, the network of trust is established and embodied. The “handshake” of the passing represents the creation, or the invigoration of trust in its most elemental form. Handing over the fob signals that there is Trust amongst this small, two-person social network.
If one wants to wake up — or be woken up — one must first consider a number of things. Primarily — who do I trust to wake me up? Who would I want to be woken up by? To whom do I want to convey that I do indeed trust them?…”
Thank you, Bruce Sterling, for pointing out this weird piece of design.
I still have not found a way of being woken up that agrees with me. No wonder, with all the modern stuff around.

Maybe, I will return to the classics and be awakened by bird song.

The Infinite Adventure Machine

Artificial Intelligence telling bed-time stories to your kids? I got a chilly “The Diamond Age”-oh-my-God-primers-could-become-reality-pretty-soon-feeling from this bit of news.

TIAM is a proposal for a computer program which generates fairy-tale plots. While fully automatic story generation remains an unsolved problem for computer science, this project explores the links between imagination and computation. Tales and myths; the core narratives of human culture, have been transmitted for generations through various technologies and media. What new forms might they take through digital formats and Artificial Intelligence?

Based on the work of Vladimir Propp, who reduced the structure of russian folk-tales to 31 basic functions, TIAM aims to question the limitations and implications of attempts at programming language and narrative.

I have actually worked with Propp’s formalist schemes before; it is quite interesting when your focus is on story themes. A few of these functions are basic story elements like victory, departure of parents, rescue, wedding and such. They are alloted letters and a ‘formula’ for the story can be produced. You can see this formlua in the upper left corner of the application  in the video above.

(An0ther interesting tool for examining and comparing story structures and motives is the Aarne–Thompson classification system, which uses motifs rather than actions or functions to group the tales.)

Because the program is unable to deliver a finished story, rather only a crude synopsis and illustrations, users have to improvise, filling the gaps with their imagination and making up for the technology’s shortcomings.

Bummer. But breaking ground – I think it is possible to make this work, given a little more time. Keep an eye out for it..

[via via Glitch Fiction via Creative Applications]

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