It’s been a good run…

Clusterflock is what introduced me to the most interesting parts of the web. I love this site and all the people involved, but I think it’s time to officially shut it down. In the forthcoming weeks I’ll be converting this to a static site for archival and security purposes. What this means is the url structure and all the content will remain, but comments will be closed permanently and there will be no CMS to create new posts.

Thanks, everybody, we’ll see you around the web.

The Image Toaster

TV remote control designs

TV remote control with abacus design

Nicolas Henchoz, director of the EPFL + ECAL Lab, in Lausanne, Switzerland, finds this disconnect between man and remote striking. After all, he points out, we’ve been living with the things for nearly 60 years. So last fall, he posed a challenge to his students in Lausanne, as well as those at three other top design schools–ENSCI-Les Ateliers in Paris, the Royal College of Art in London, and Parsons in New York: Build a remote control someone could fall in love with.

(via Co.DESIGN)

Food-packaged food

Food packaged in a container made of food

You’ll be able to peel the shell off and compost the skin like a banana peel or, take a step beyond biodegradable, eat the whole thing like you would chew a grape.

(via Co.EXIST)

P.S.A.

While I’m logged in here, I’d like to blatantly promote a project I worked on recently that I think is cool:

Heroes Get Hired book cover

Heroes Get Hired by Michelle Tillis Lederman

It’s a job-interview guide for military veterans and their partners, and though I didn’t read every word while I was working on it (I designed and coded the e-books and designed and typeset the print edition (not the covers)), I got the impression that it’s practical and well thought-out.

And it’s free to download in lots of formats (there are versions with video and versions without), or to view on the Web. Free, FREE, FREE!

So if you are a veteran (thank you!), please have a look; if you know some, pass it along.

And if you see any typos or formatting errors, drop me a note. I can fix those!

Frances Stark [THIS IS NOT EXACTLY A CAT VIDEO]

Screen shot 2013-01-21 at 10.10.09 PM

With David Bowie’s “Star Man”. Et cetera. 2007.

“I’m David Bowie!”

“Yeah! Me, too!”

Please do me this one favor and watch all of this and you’ll be glad that you did.

Monsters! I’m David Bowie!

Compression

There are holes in the ground, filling with water. The holes aren’t deep but they’re spreading like footprints. Ten thousand million billion little lakes. A gingham weave of segments. Facets of an insect’s eye laid flat. It has rained for about six or fifteen years now and the ground is sinking beneath the flood. What can we do when the holes are everywhere and they connect? The world will be 10% smaller and the only thing left to wonder about is where the first new hole will appear.

A terrible beauty is born

ucsd-diego-san-robot-infant-11

Dr. Javier Movellan, UCSD Machine Perception Lab, poses with an incomplete version of Diego-san at Kokoro Co. Ltd. in Japan.

And there’s a video.

Dear Clusterflock,

I’m still thankful for all you guys.

dear clusterflock

Say, here’s an idea. What say we establish a bizarro clusterflock for hackers, extremists, and miscellaneous goofbuckets? SHOUTING! And the SWORD!

We could even make it user-friendly by modeling it on bilingual sites. You know, sites that offer you the GERMAN or the ENGLISH version.

Visitors to the bizarro clusterflock could opt, say, for the MY WAY OR THE HIGHWAY-KRAZEE-CHRISTIAN version or the MY WAY OR THE HIGHWAY-KRAZEE-MUSLIM version.

There are infinite variations.

One-stop shopping

One-stop shopping for luck, banking, and healthcare on 10th Street and 3rd Avenue.

Tigie Lancaster of Marfa


Photograph by Allison V. Smith.

Here’s something that’ll tell you a little bit about who Tigie was — plus a little bit more on Tigie before she moved to Marfa.

I held off on posting this till one of us could sit face-to-face with our friend Lee and tell her that her friend Tigie had died. It was Steve who finally broke the news to Lee.

I never did meet Tigie, but I knew who she was starting from when I was nineteen or so, when I still lived in Dallas, which is where I met Lee. I was hoping that once Lee moved back to Dallas she and I could revisit Marfa (we went there in 2006) and I could meet Tigie.

Well, nothing to stop our going back to Marfa.

The Sad Allure of The Vermont Country Store

For me, browsing the offerings of The Vermont Country Store is a little like clearing out the house of an elderly relative who’s died.

Tender sentiments and pity mingle with embarrassment and faint revulsion.
Read more

The United Typothetae of America (and Its Future)

“Hell is empty and all the devils are here.”

They were what you might call a guild of master printers.

On September 27, 1900, they pondered their future and they et. They started off with Blue Points, a splash of sherry, something called Essence of White Sage Hen, olives, salted almonds, and celery. Then turbans of black bass, sliced cucumbers, and potatoes marquises. And/or diamondback terrapin (in case). And/or lamp chops with asparagus tips. (And Parisian potatoes!) Washed down with various 1884 Sauternes.

There was an interval of sherbet crème de menthe (to cleanse the palate?) and cigarettes, followed by roast stuffed quail (imperiale) with corn cake and guava jelly. Plus lettuce and tomato, filled with celery and mayonnaise. A gulp or so of Moët & Chandon.

Ice cream (en surprise) and assorted cakes for afters. A cheese course of Roquefort cheese and “saline wafers.” And a wee nip of Chartreuse. Topped off by café noir and cigars.

(From the wonderful NYPL Menu Collection.)

Poo WiFi

Poo WiFi

(video)

Sally Cruikshank: “Make Me Psychic” (1978)

What got me started was the discovery that animation artist Sally Cruikshank has an Etsy shop where she’s selling watercolors.

Cruikshank is probably best known for Quasi at the Quackadero (1975), which is now listed on the United States National Film Registry. Or you may have seen the animated sequences she contributed to Sesame Street in the nineties.

My favorite, though, has always been Make Me Psychic. “Which way to the we-fwesh-ments?”

(Many of Cruikshank’s films are available for viewing on her YouTube channel, laughingsal, as well as on a DVD you can buy from her Etsy shop.)

Flux capacitor not included

via Stellar (I’ve got two invites y’all)

Futurama

My mother was one of the many who visited the 1939 World’s Fair in New York. I asked her once about the Futurama, a kind of ride into the future twenty years hence.

“You rode the Futurama?” I asked her.

“Yes. Of course.”

“Wow! What was it like?”

[Dismissively.] “Oh, we just sat in little cars that we didn’t drive. We rode around on tracks and looked at the future.”

California may legalize driverless cars.

tweet of the day

How do blogs need to evolve?

Anil Dash, Meg Hourihan, Matt Haughey, Paul Bausch, and Evan Williams discuss How do blogs need to evolve?

Anil begins the conversation with:

It seems like some of the basic elements of the form, such as comments, have been stuck in a model that doesn’t work very well to encourage quality responses and also doesn’t fit the way people do things socially online these days. Oddly, a blog comment isn’t even as good a social object as a photo.

photo out of context

bell labs

video out of context

regressive vegetable storage

Sometimes being progressive means being regressive.

30 Photos of a Chinese Sex Toy Factory

Cachagua

She thought about it for a minute and then told me a remarkable story about her relationship with technology during the last 40 years living up the mountain a bit east of where we stood. She did not exactly answer my question, but made a point nonetheless.

“I pretty much stayed on the mountain. There are no phone lines. There is no electricity,” she said. “I have my iPhone and I can get 3G and I can get what I want and I have a little solar panel and propane and candles. I’ve been off the grid forever. Now, I have the small solar panel and I can turn on the light and charge my cell phone. I’m not used to it. My daughter tells me, ‘You can plug things in!’ And I say, ‘I don’t have anything to plug in.’ Blow out the lights, not turn out the lights, is my thing.”

Her boss, the chef Michael Jones, filled in the rest of Liz’s story on his blog (punctuation all his). “Liz lives in a trailer on the mountain with no power and no water…two horses, a goat and two dogs. Cats don’t count. She carries water in plastic buckets to the critters….and to her own self,” he wrote. “She pays child support to a scumbag in Missouri or one of those other M states or square states…..Her daughter that I know is an honor student at Davis…….Because she has no power or water, Liz hangs with us after working her 10 hr shift at The Store. We are her TV.”

I’ve ridden my bike out past Cachagua Road and I can attest to the beauty and isolation of the area. It was very near Jamesburg that, climbing a long hill, I passed a man in a cowboy hat and boots, his back to me, urinating. The two cyclists coming down the hill had a much better view and the man made no attempt to stand behind cover.

This particular excerpt reminds me of the photos I’ve seen and the stories I’ve heard about my mother-in-law’s family when they lived in the mountains above Big Sur – a kind of lifestyle that seems almost extinct.

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