While American Prohibition made illegal the sale, production, importation, and transportation of alcoholic beverages, The Mountain Winery in Saratoga, California had permission to produce wine for “exclusive” use in religious sacraments. As a result, John Steinbeck and Ansel Adams once shared a bunk bed. Whatever the magnet, these people always seem to know each other. Knowing often leads collaborations, and collaborations to labels that group and identify artists with each other and a time in history. Dadaists, for example, believed that the value of art was in the act of making and collaborating with others.
Round and round we go. The social media site du jour is Ello, which news organisations around the world are claiming to be attracting new users in their thousands each day. Currently in beta, its two claims to fame are that it's ad-free and allows for any username.
Arts Council England is to fund and launch a new aggregator of video arts content. Delivered by video aggregation and rights business Rightster, it is pitched as a destination, which brings the best videos from across Teh Interwebz into one place.
The body is increasingly being seen as a digital security interface. From iris scanners to fingerprint recognition, innovations abound which aim to identify us from everyone else in order to provide secure access to services. According to new developments from Australia, tears provide biometric security which is way stronger than existing solutions.
It appears that while I was typing this everyone's decided to go bombing. Hey ho. Fortunately, though, Web Curios doesn't really *do* geopolitics and so we can conveniently ignore all those troublesome questions about international responsibility and legitimacy and stuff in favour of pointing at a bunch of stuff on the web in slack-jawed amazement.
So follow me once again, webmongs, as we venture into the hall of mirrors on the soul that is the internet - what you are about to see is the truest possible reflection of who we are this week, so if you don't like the hideously distorted picture gurning back at you then, well, tough. IT'S WEB CURIOS!
Every Monday night, in a basement in Brighton under a gothic building, you’ll find a gaggle of over-excited and scientifically-trained data geeks. Our mission? To figure out how we can use data to make the city of Brighton better. Made up of programmers, data analysts and creative technologists, this collective of surprisingly un-beardy folk - of which I am one - go under the name of ‘Imagine Brighton’.
Our latest project is part of the 2014 Brighton Digital Festival. It’s called Mind of a City and we want to find out how Brighton is feeling. It’s an ambitious goal. But one that we have managed to achieve, with the help of social media tracking and support from digital marketing agency, iCrossing (where I am a data strategist). We loved the outputs of the project so much that we built a giant data visualisation of the results that we are projecting in the centre of town for people to see and interact with.
The debacle of Apple forcing Songs of Innocence, the latest musical secretion from tax-evading stadium rockers U2, is given a wonderful response in this new speaker from design duo Unstable Technology. Plug any audio into it, and out comes a U2 song.
“Doink". Next. "Deenk". Next. "Dwo-wo-woink ". This will be a familiar procedure to anyone who plays a synthesiser or makes music on a computer – and, my goodness, there are a lot of us these days. "Brrrr-b". Next. "Br-ru-rub". Next. "Piaowww". It’s the interminable scroll through preset sounds, a tedious search through the synth’s pre-programmed noises until boredom sets in, at which point you just settle for the least worst option. "Piaowww". Yeah, that’ll do. "Piaow piaow piaow piaowww." I have to admit, that I’m getting tired of "piaowww", and of the musical path that inevitably leads me to choose "piaowww". Still, I guess it sounds all right. Let’s move on.
So The Union is still The Union, and a whole new generation of young idealists have learned first-hand the unique pleasure inherent in participatory democracy. Does that mean we can talk about something else now, please? Not that it's not been important and interesting and all, but you know that the media's possibly overstretched itself when they're running interviews with the school caretaker who's erecting the polling booths to ask his opinion about his role in the MOMENTOUS OCCASION.
ANYWAY, that's all over and done with and we can get back to the important bits of life - namely, busying ourselves exhuming this week's half-dried bombs of infoturd from the litter tray of human endeavour. That's right, webmongs, it's once again time to hold your nose and go digging for 'treasure', courtesy of WEB CURIOS!
I spend so long staring down at the small screen on my smartphone that I forget to look at the world around me. I sink into the flat surface and when I come up from the blue gaze I often feel a million miles from both who I have been ‘communicating’ with and the world I am stood in. I feel very alone.
My neck is crooked and my eyes squinting as I text, email, ‘hang out’, ‘face time’ and tweet away to friends and family with my gaze basically at the floor and my hands clasped around a cold, unfeeling brick.