Eric Cantor ( R ), the incoming House majority leader, is asking people to look for ‘wasteful’ National Science Foundation (NSF) funding. In his view, this would include projects that can be found using the keywords “success, culture, media, games, social norm, lawyers, museum, leisure, stimulus”. Cantor asks people to search for these keywords on the NSF website, make note of the offending award numbers, and submit them to a web-based form. This is an instance of so-called “crowd-sourcing” being used against the very researchers who are key in developing and studying this phenomenon.
I have written a simple script to upload your own “suggestions” to this form. These suggestions consist of texts such as Alice’s Adventues in Wonderland, Capital, Communist Manifesto, and works by De Sade. Additionally, the uploads come from referers such as “http://let.the.air.force.have.a.bake.sale.to.raise.money.gov” and “http://learn.about.research.before.you.cut.what.you.dont.know.gov”. The project follows in a long line of similar interventions such as the FloodNet by EDT and b.a.n.g. lab.
Note: the script that processes the results of the form on Cantor’s site is actually hosted on the personal site of Matt Lira, well-known technical operative of the GOP. Thus this script never connects to any .gov website.
The script and accompanying text files can be downloaded here. All you need is python 2.5 or higher to run. Comments at the top of the file explain any changes you might want to make.
Apple has finally released its guidelines for “acceptable” applications in its App Store. Of course the document is itself covered by a non-disclosure agreement, but someone has helpfully posted it anyway. What’s interesting are some of the following items:
“2.7 Apps that download code in any way or form will be rejected”
This clause will still prevent Scratch from being approved; Scratch was sadly removed from the App Store earlier this year. What makes this such a problem is that Apple was once known for their educational software, for the ability to easily program in Basic from boot. And now the ability for new students to learn the fundamentals of programming on the device is not available.
“14.1 Any app that is defamatory, offensive, mean-spirited, or likely to place the targeted individual or group in harms way will be rejected
14.2 Professional political satirists and humorists are exempt from the ban on offensive or mean- spirited commentary” (emphasis added)
This is due to a major spat earlier this year when Apple rejected an app by a Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist. Yet the devil is in the details, is it not? What is the definition of “professional”? Does it require one to win a Pulitzer? And what does this mean for people wanting to become better known as satirists?
“15.3 ‘Enemies’ within the context of a game cannot solely target a specific race, culture, a real government or corporation, or any other real entity” (emphasis added)
This one is really curious. Now your latest satirical game that targets BP/Goldman Sachs/Wal-Mart is going to be automatically rejected? Something like molleindustria’s McDonald’s video game would be rejected under these rules. It’s clear that with this clause Apple is preemptively shutting down an avenue for activists to develop applications for the iPhone and iPad.
As I’ve said many times before, the problem is less that Apple has made these restrictions; they are allowed to do so, however wrongheaded they might be. Rather, the problem is that so many academics lend their weight to Apple’s regime by continuing to buy their products (my Linux-running Macbook, purchased by my school years ago, will be the last Apple item I own), basing classes around programming for the iPhone or iPad, or giving away free iPads to incoming students. (It should not cost money to become a developer, like it does to join Apple’s developer program. That is not “open” in any way, shape, or form.) Apple’s ecosystem is becoming more and more closed, and as academics we should not be supporting that. Similarly, given these guidelines, journalists should not be ceding editorial control to a separate corporation and should avoid producing apps for Apple. Just Say No to the Apple.
Live video mixing at the “Requiem for Analog TV Noise” at the Cornell Cinema on 12 November, 2009. Using pure data and pdp, we mixed live noise sources, filters, and pre-recorded video tracks. You can download the attached files for the pure data patches; note, however, that you will have to change the video sources and MIDI inputs to your own specifications.
froi is a suite of programs for the analysis of functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) data using a region-of-interest (ROI) approach. Users can perform all necessary functions with froi, from creating and modifying ROIs, to using ROIs as a way to constrain analyses, to combining ROIs in a number of different ways.
froi is used in nearly all research of the Kanwisher Lab, with the results of analyses performed with froi published in journals such as The Journal of Neuroscience. froi is also in use in other research laboratories.
froi is currently written in a combination of perl, shell scripts, and matlab, and was planned to be re-written in python and C.
ddd (diary-driven development) is a tool to help solo software developers with software development. It is based on ideas of Andy Dent; specifically, that while there are well-defined procedures for software development in large organizations, there do not exist such procedures for solo software developers. The purpose of ddd is to formalize some of the process by having the developer write in “diaries”. These diaries help with the development of ideas and code while also serving as an archive for later perusal.
blender, laser cutter, Tangible Media with Hiroshi Ishii
amia is the first device within a framework that we call “amiable media”, or technologies that aim at integrating the physical and digital worlds to give rise to new forms of interpersonal communication.
We did a simple user survey beforehand to get an idea of how people communicate with loved ones, what that form of communication misses from face-to-face communication, and whether or not people would be interested in a device like amia.
amia is a device for helping two people keep in touch: think academic couples separated by long distances, a spouse who travels frequently, and so on. The device has two main modes: passive and active. In passive mode, microphones on one device pick up the ambient noise level and transmit this noise level to the companion device. A band the encircles amia glows in response to the ambient noise level of the other device. In this way, we have a means of indicating the presence of the other person without being too intrusive.
The second mode is the active mode, made up of a number of components. First, heat sensors on device will activate when a person handles the device; this information is transferred to the companion device and translated into a more “reddish” color as the temperature on the other device increases. Secondly, capacitive sensors pick up hand motions across the outside of the device, which are converted into pulses or sequences of light; the user can then “compose” sequences of light patterns to send to the companion device, thus allowing for abstract interpersonal communication. Finally, actuators on the surface of the devices can be pushed in or popped out; pushing in on one device leads to popping out of the corresponding actuator on the companion device. Thus the users can, perhaps, send messages or play games using these push-in, pop-out components.
The goal with this project was to try and find a way for two people separated by distance to keep in contact non-verbally, since cell phones and IM are so prevalent, but yet miss out on a lot of the nuances of real-life interpersonal communication.
daily kos, little green footballs, festival, chicken wire, spray paint, aluminum foil
Political discourse amongst strangers is virtually non-existent in the United States. We turn members of the opposite political party into an unapproachable other, abdicating our responsibility to understand their views. Is there a way to move beyond this seemingly intractable situation?
policrae and demochi are two creatures who like to talk about politics. Their speech comes from incendiary commentary from political blogs on the left and right. By “sitting” on a common bench they create an uncanny situation. The hope is that people will begin to discuss the strangeness of the creatures, which will then move into a discussion of what the creatures are talking about, namely, politics. I see the creatures as social and political catalysts, agents in the creation of a serendipitous event.
policrae and demochi were first installed in MITs Stata Center Student Street. Later installations are planned for the Boston Common.
The increased use of cell-phones in the recent past brought about a new form of communication: text messaging. Most popular overseas, many young people use this as a way to send brief messages to their friends through the phone. What makes text messaging on a phone different from other forms of electronic communication by text is its method of input. Since the majority of cell phones have only 12 keys, and the English alphabet, including both cases, numbers, and common symbols, is around 65 characters, a new method of input was devised that took as its first incarnation the use of the letters that already were found on most numeric keypads. For example, in order to enter the letter “c”, you have to press “222″; to get “N”, you have to type “*66″
When you step back and think about this, you can realize how odd of a input method this is. No other common form of input requires you to press the same key multiple times to get a different output. Even capital letters on most keyboards requires you to only press two keys at the same time (assuming caps-lock is off).
44#444 makes this disconnect visible by translating short sequences of text into the numeric key presses necessary to enter the text into a common text message. By doing so, 44#444 encourages the participant to consider the unnatural nature of what is by now a rather common mode of communication.
The interface to the work consists of an old DEC VT220 terminal. The use of the terminal is an additional way to highlight the disconnect: by using technology from the mid 1980s as an interface to translation of a 21st century mode of communication, the participant is further removed from what is likely a common experience.
Participants will be able to take a physical output of their message as printed on thermal paper from 44#444. I will encourage them to write and print out a message that they might send as a text message to a friend and then give the printout to the friend. In this way, I hope to extend the influence of the project outside of the walls of the gallery.
That people have emotional responses to music is a truism. However, we have little understanding of the ways in which music brings about these emotions. Indeed, we lack decent ways to measure these responses in a quantitative way. As an early step in this area, we devised a listening experiment with a novel response paradigm. Listeners chose from a set of around twenty emotional descriptors, selecting a strength value for each chosen word. Importantly, we did not prevent the listener from selecting conflicting words, or limit her to only one choice. We then used unsupervised machine learning techniques to explore the space of responses. Early results show good agreement with prior studies, but with the potential for more nuanced understanding. We plan to extend this work into considering a broader space of influencing factors on emotional response.
Firefox extensions, USASpending.gov, Google News Search, PR News Search, Google Image Search, IRS 990 forms, McCoy
MAICgregator is a Firefox extension that aggregates information about colleges and universities embedded in the military-academic-industrial complex (MAIC). It searches government funding databases, private news sources, private press releases, and public information about trustees to try and produce a radical cartography of the modern university via the replacement or overlay of this information on academic websites. This is a necessary activity in light of the contemporary financial “crisis”.