FYI – Diggers and Stumblers…

we are going to be changing servers tonight and will be down for about an hour.

thanks for your patience!


Jackson Pollack or The Mammalian Neocortical Column


When I saw this I was sure it was yet another generations attempt to re-envision the genius of J. Pollack. To my great delight, it is in fact a ridiculously complex computer model of the cerebral cortex of the human brain. Fabulous, right? Because the connection is uncanny; Pollack and his AbEx cronies were all about the dissolution of filters between the mind and the work of art. You know, painting the ego or even id. It was all about the inner workings of these guys and now, fifty years later we get a (nearly)working model of the actual organ they were metaphorically representing and they look nearly identical! Damn!

"A visual representation of a mammalian neocortical column, the basic building block of the cortex. the representation shows the complexity of this part of the brain, which has now been modeled using a supercomputer. the visualization is part of an ambitious project to create a biologically accurate, functional model of the brain using IBM’s Blue Gene supercomputer.

"the visualization of the neurons’ shapes is a challenging task given the fact that a column of 10,000 neurons rendered in high quality mesh accounts for essentially 1 billion triangles for which about 100GB of management data is required. simulation data with a resolution of electrical compartments for each neuron accounts for another 150GB. as the electrical impulse travels through the column, neurons light up and change color as they become electrically active."

[link: technologyreview.com & epfl.ch & epfl.ch (movie)|via visualcomplexity.com]



Earthdesk Forget that boring desktop! Turn yours into a real-time map of mother earth complete with twilight shading.

I saw this over at CH and had to have it. It really is great.



Polar Clock by Pixelbreaker

Polar_clock We’ve been feeling inspired by designers specializing in info-graphics. Gabriel Bucknall, a.k.a. Pixelbreaker, has designed a great screensaver called "Polar Clock". W just downloaded it for one of the Macs and it is a hit! Simple, elegant and clever. What more could you ask for?

From infoaesthetics:

a simple clock design based on depicting the length of circle arcs. available as a free screensaver application.

see also coulheur clock & colhour clock & last clock.

[link: pixelbreaker.com (clock) & pixelbreaker.com (blog entry)]

DIY Windmill by William Kamkwamba, Malawi, Africa

William_kamkwam This story was so inspiring to me that I had to post it in its entirety. It’s short. Read it. You’ll be inspired too!

"With all the sobering news lately about global warming and war, it’s important to remember all the positive things that are ALSO going on in the world at any given time. Case in point: the story of intrepid Malawi youth William Kamkwamba who, despite having no formal education or training, recently engineered and built a windmill to power his house. It’s certainly the most inspiring story we’ve read this month, and we think you’ll agree…

After having to drop out of school due to lack of funds, William Kamkwamba from Malawi decided to learn as much as he could from books that had been donated to his primary school’s library. One of the books detailed how to build a windmill that generated enough electricity.

With much trial and error, some local materials, and an investment of about 16 dollars, William constructed a windmill that could generate enough energy for a few light bulbs and a radio. While a few bulbs might sound insignificant, the difference changed William’s and his family’s life entirely. Instead of using expensive paraffin candles, which produce smoke and irritate the eyes, William and his family now use the energy generated by the wind to light up their house. The engineering youth also hooked up a car battery to his generator to use as a backup in case of a non-windy day.

The 12-meter tall windmill (it was originally only 5 meters) is made out of scrap timber. The blades, originally made from PVC, now steel, power a bicycle dynamo, the type that power a bicycle headlamp, which in turn provides electricity to the battery. William uses this energy for his house, as well as to help others recharge their batteries. Just recently, he moved from a car battery to a deep discharge battery, which will help improve with the power storage of his house.

William’s story does not end here. After appearing in the local papers, and blogged by Soyapi Mumba, he was contacted by Emeka Okafor, the recent curator of the TED Global Conference in Arusha. Okafor invited William to speak at the conference as one of the 100 other prestigious presenters. It was there that William was first introduced to computers, the internet, Google, and the blog (he now has his own blog, in which he writes about his experience).

What does the future hold for this local green hero/inventor/entrepreneur? He has made recent modifications to the windmill and completed a second installation at his primary school. He also plans to modify his windmill to include the ability to pump water from his well and irrigate his garden.

Truly a remarkable and inspiring story. If you are feeling as moved as we are over William’s accomplishments, you can donate directly to help William’s education and engineering projects here >

+ William Kamkwamba’s Malawi Windmill Blog

via Inhabitat

Hank’s Hi-fi Webcast to Go Under; Save Net Radio

Hankshi_fi_hirezstationlogo   You heard correctly, Hank’s Hi-fi may go under if current legislation is passed. YOU CAN HELP!

Act Now!

"The future of Internet radio is in immediate danger. Royalty rates for webcasters have been drastically increased by a recent ruling and are due to go into effect on May 15 (retroactive to Jan 1, 2006!). If the increased rates remain unchanged, the majority of webcasters will go bankrupt and silent on this date. Internet radio needs your help! The Internet Radio Equality Act has just been introduced by Representatives Jay Inslee (D-WA) and Donald Manzullo (R-IL ) to save the Internet radio industry. Please call your congressperson to ask them to co-sponsor this bill by clicking below.

Call Your Representative!

Solar Flare Anomoly Animation by liyongqiang (YouTube)

I’ve watched this 3 times so far and it gets better each time. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hQyp9y_9s10

"SOHO stands for Solar and Heliospheric Observatory. The SOHO Gallery has movies and animations on sunpots, solar flares, photon showers, and comets. This video of solar flares was made from SOHO’s images. Push Play or go to YouTube.

Link to SOHO. -via Ursi’s Blog. via Neatorama

Twitter yourself Mad, or Watch Picasso on YouTube or MySpace

Twitter is a great idea for those of us who feel the need to try every new communication idea. The basic principle seems to be that there is space in the continuum of–phone call, Email, Skype, AIM, and blog post–for a simple way to just hang a sign on the digital door to say, "Back in 5" or "Gone fishing" or even "Got an itch I need to scratch".

Yet I remain unconvinced. Most people I know are too busy to even stay current on Email. No way will friends ping Twitter to see if I’m at my desk. It reminds me of this film of Picasso drawing. Yes, it’s interesting…once. But I’m more interested in what he does than in how he does it. Is this too "destination is more important than the journey" for you?

watch the video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7vgAYTC9bRY

check his home page here: http://www.myspace.com/picassoart 


Mulit-touch Demo feat. Jeff Han, the Inventor Himself

Great gadget demo from this year’s TED conference. Plenty of arts applications for this, but by the time it is made affordable enough for artists, well…I’m not going to lose any sleep over this one.


via Info aesthetics

Crazy-creepy Dan Glassman: I Will Make You Love Me

08_iwillmakeuloveme_jpg Check out this new work by the multi-talented writer and artist Dan Glassman. We are particularly enjoying these crazy-creepy illustrations.

Get a whole lot more at http://danglassman.com

Stay tuned for more info…

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