A calming little website collecting 10 minute videos of someone’s else window. Displayed randomly, from anywhere in the world.

A moment of silence for Yahoo! Pipes 🙏

A talking mouth chanting algorithmically generated prayers. Given they’re nonsense to begin with, why not?

At the end: “I think one thing that people should remember is that nature is the biggest bio-terrorist. Nature wants to kill you.”

Bill Gates, back in 2015:

But in fact, we can build a really good response system. We have the benefits of all the science and technology that we talk about here. We’ve got cell phones to get information from the public and get information out to them. We have satellite maps where we can see where people are and where they’re moving. We have advances in biology that should dramatically change the turnaround time to look at a pathogen and be able to make drugs and vaccines that fit for that pathogen. So we can have tools, but those tools need to be put into an overall global health system. And we need preparedness.

The best lessons, I think, on how to get prepared are again, what we do for war. For soldiers, we have full-time, waiting to go. We have reserves that can scale us up to large numbers. NATO has a mobile unit that can deploy very rapidly. NATO does a lot of war games to check, are people well trained? Do they understand about fuel and logistics and the same radio frequencies? So they are absolutely ready to go. So those are the kinds of things we need to deal with an epidemic.

Kind of mind-blowing overview of the waste management of a specific item (Christmas tree lights), from Adam Minter.

I would also highly recommend to anyone who wants to understand recycling as a system (that exists outside of our daily reality) to follow Discard studies, which is how I stumbled upon the above:

Structures, not behaviours, uphold norms and practices of waste and wasting. In sociology and other fields, there is a constant tension between agency–what individuals and groups of people are able and want to do– and structure, the cultural norms and values, institutions, infrastructures, and power relations that constrain and even determine that agency. Because of this, we’ve argued against awareness as an ideal method for creating changes around waste and wasting, instead arguing for changes in infrastructure and other scaled up systems. To help understand this tension, we use concepts of scale and scalar mismatch to argue that waste occurs differently within different structures at different scales, and that action must match up with these scales. For example, if we want to address pollution and waste, then focusing 90% of our activist efforts on household waste that makes up less than 3% of a nation’s waste is not going to be effective. Consumer and citizen behaviour cannot impact 97% of the waste that’s out there.

The values change every time the universe changes, and that’s every time we redefine a big enough bit of it. Which we do all the time through the process of discovery that isn’t discovery: just the invention of another version of how things are.

Bryan Boyer built an epaper display that shows movies at 24 frames per hour (instead than 24 frames/sec). He has called it Very Slow Movie Player (VSMP): it slows a movie down so that it can be experienced differently, so that its frames can be seen as paintings.

VSMP is an object that contains a Raspberry Pi computer, custom software, and a reflective ePaper display (similar to a Kindle), all housed inside a 3D printed case. Every 2.5 minutes a frame from the film stored on the computer’s memory card is extracted, converted to black and white using a dithering algorithm, and then communicated to the reflective ePaper display. […]

Films are vain creatures that typically demand a dark room, full attention, and eager eyeballs ready to accept light beamed from the screen or projector to your visual cortex. VSMP inverts all of that. It is impossible to “watch” in a traditional way because it’s too slow. In a staring contest with VSMP you will always lose. It can be noticed, glanced-at, or even inspected, but not watched.

Inspired by the project, Jon Bell built Slow In Translation: Lost in Translation, stretched out over the entire year as a webpage background.

In Bob Burrough’s words (Burrough is the author of the demo):

An environmentally-lit interface takes information from the environment around the device and uses it to render physically-accurate things on the screen. It appears as if the lights around you are shining on the things on the screen. […]

This doesn’t mean you have to hold a flashlight over your phone to read the web in bed. What it means is, designers are empowered to use the design language of the physical world to design their interfaces. Gloss, glitter, glow-in-the-dark, or any other visual quality may be used. In the case of reading a website in a darkened room, the web designer may apply elegant backlighting or glow-in-the-dark treatments to maintain legibility. This is far superior to today’s method of making your phone act like a spotlight that shines in your face.

I never used OpenDoc, but I find the idea behind it interesting:

The core idea of OpenDoc is to create small, reusable components, responsible for a specific task, such as text editing, bitmap editing, or browsing an FTP server. OpenDoc provides a framework in which these components can run together, and a document format for storing the data created by each component. These documents can then be opened on other machines, where the OpenDoc frameworks substitute suitable components for each part, even if they are from different vendors.

Instead of recreating the same set of features within each app — forcing the user to learn different ways of doing the same thing —, the idea was to abstract the core functionality of each software to make it available across the OS.

I think iOS gets closer to that but it’s probably the internet, more than anything else, that which helped unbundling the data from the underlying software — turning the latter into a service.