Dave Bruno looked around his San Diego home one summer and realized just how much of his family’s belongings were cluttering their lives. So he decided to do something about it, in a project he called The 100 Thing Challenge:
By my thirty-seventh birthday on November 12, 2008 I will have only 100 personal items. I will live for at least one year (God willing) maintaining an inventory of only 100 personal things. This challenge will help me “put stuff in its place” and also explore my belief that “stuff can be good when it serves a purpose greater than possession alone.”
Lisa McLaughlin of TIME Magazine covered this story:
Excess consumption is practically an American religion. But as anyone with a filled-to-the-gills closet knows, the things we accumulate can become oppressive. With all this stuff piling up and never quite getting put away, we’re no longer huddled masses yearning to breathe free; we’re huddled masses yearning to free up space on a countertop. Which is why people are so intrigued by the 100 Thing Challenge, a grass-roots movement in which otherwise seemingly normal folks are pledging to whittle down their possessions to a mere 100 items. […]
“It comes down to the products vs. the promise,” says organizational consultant Peter Walsh, who characterizes himself as part contractor, part therapist. “It’s not necessarily about the new pots and pans but the idea of the cozy family meals that they will provide. People are finding that their homes are full of stuff, but their lives are littered with unfulfilled promises.”
Dave’s progress blog, guynameddave.
For six weird weeks in the fall of 2004, Udo Wächter had an unerring sense of direction. Every morning after he got out of the shower, Wächter, a sysadmin at the University of Osnabrück in Germany, put on a wide beige belt lined with 13 vibrating pads — the same weight-and-gear modules that make a cell phone judder. On the outside of the belt were a power supply and a sensor that detected Earth’s magnetic field. Whichever buzzer was pointing north would go off. Constantly.
“It was slightly strange at first,” Wächter says, “though on the bike, it was great.” He started to become more aware of the peregrinations he had to make while trying to reach a destination. “I finally understood just how much roads actually wind,” he says. Deep into the experiment, Wächter says, “I suddenly realized that my perception had shifted. I had some kind of internal map of the city in my head. I could always find my way home. Eventually, I felt I couldn’t get lost, even in a completely new place.”
On a visit to Hamburg, about 100 miles away, he noticed that he was conscious of the direction of his hometown. Wächter felt the vibration in his dreams, moving around his waist, just like when he was awake. […]
When the original feelSpace experiment ended, Wächter, the sysadmin who started dreaming in north, says he felt lost; like the people wearing the weird goggles in those Austrian experiments, his brain had remapped in expectation of the new input. “Sometimes I would even get a phantom buzzing.” He bought himself a GPS unit, which today he glances at obsessively. One woman was so dizzy and disoriented for her first two post-feelSpace days that her colleagues wanted to send her home from work. “My living space shrank quickly,” says König. “The world appeared smaller and more chaotic.”
During a long brainstorm session, they wondered whether the tongue could actually augment sight for the visually impaired. I tried the prototype; in a white-walled office strewn with spare electronics parts, Wicab neuroscientist Aimee Arnoldussen hung a plastic box the size of a brick around my neck and gave me the mouthpiece. “Some people hold it still, and some keep it moving like a lollipop,” she said. “It’s up to you.”
Arnoldussen handed me a pair of blacked-out glasses with a tiny camera attached to the bridge. The camera was cabled to a laptop that would relay images to the mouthpiece.
I cranked up the voltage of the electric shocks to my tongue. It didn’t feel bad, actually — like licking the leads on a really weak 9-volt battery. […] I walked around the Wicab offices. I managed to avoid most walls and desks, scanning my head from side to side slowly to give myself a wider field of view, like radar. Thinking back on it, I don’t remember the feeling of the electrodes on my tongue at all during my walkabout. What I remember are pictures: high-contrast images of cubicle walls and office doors, as though I’d seen them with my eyes. Tyler’s group hasn’t done the brain imaging studies to figure out why this is so — they don’t know whether my visual cortex was processing the information from my tongue or whether some other region was doing the work.
The author also has a blog about this stuff: sunnybains_feed.
“The Animaris Rhinoceros Transport is a type of animal with a steel skeleton and a polyester skin. It looks as if there is a thick layer of sand coating the animal. It weighs 2 tons, but can be set into motion by one person. It stands 4.70 meters tall. Because of its height it catches enough wind to start moving.”
Watch the video!
There’s more at strandbeest.com.
Itconversations.com has a session with Theo Jansen, the creator of these wondrous wind-powered walking machines, at Pop!Tech 2005 here.
The Machine, a short story by Joey Comeau of a softer world.
I leaned over the pool-table at Joe’s Cafe and while I carefully lined up my cue with the ball, I unexpectedly felt like I was a copyright infringement. That someone more deserving had done this exact thing, but had made it art. Shaken, I missed my shot and tried to shoo away my strange thoughts. I was in the wrong company to be attempting to discuss such ideas away. Robin isn’t educated on the right topics and Shadow, Ducky’s brother, doesn’t even have a computer yet. Instead I stood and looked over the poor constellation I had offered the next player. I counted the balls left and questioned colour as a concept. “It’s lucky all three of us suck at this, hey?”
Katie‘s started to take pictures wearing her holiday present.
This is the day I was hit by the truck three years ago. I had killed the hot seed of a child in my womb a month before and where I stained my skirt when I skid along the road, the blood from my bone bare knees mixed with blood from that left-over wound. The snow, that sensation, was so light and soft that it felt like it wasn’t real. My arm was fire and my eyes had met those of the driver a disturbing fraction of a minute before I turned and jumped into the air. My intention was to slide along the hood of the truck, but the snow, that delicate snow, it caught on my shoes. I slipped.
Samorost 2, the sequel to one of the best flash art games ever made, has been released into the wild and is now devouring small portions of the earth that thought it couldn’t hurt to just look.
I was slowly taking over this apartment in tiny hesitant increments. My toiletries were all in one tidy corner of the counter, my clothes were heaped only inside my suitcase, but now? Now my coat is on the floor, drawing a playful tangled line with my scarf between where I took off my shoes and where I landed to spread out newspapers with entertainment listings and determinately scribble all over them with a bright pink marker. Now my book and cell phone have marked an X spot on the chair I was leaning against, the one spilling over with comic books, my increasingly sick camera is lying as if dead, hinges open, while its card takes up a slot in the computer, and there would be dishes if I wasn’t expecting at any minute to jaunt off into the darkness to find dinner with James.
Obviously, I have landed.
Once again, Couchsurfing and Global Freeloaders came to my rescue, immunizing me against the rough-edged bicarbonate feeling of going stir crazy, sprouting social wings from my failing backbone. In half an hour, I’d received four invites to the same party, and another three to hang out on Sunday. Now I’m hooked up for the rest of my time in Montreal. However, this is practically just in time for my glass bone departure to Toronto. A rather telling example of apolitical timing, to be sure, and annoyingly typical of my life in general. Laugh-Cry moment. Shake fists at sky/self. Friday’s going to be interesting.
“The narwhal’s single, spiral tusk has always been a mystery. Now a Connecticut dentist has discovered that the eight-foot-long modified tooth has as many as 10 million tiny nerves reaching from its surface to the central core and, ultimately, the whale’s brain.”
This was last night’s entry. I was whisked out of the house before I got to post it, and then I spent my whole night out. I figure for the hell of it, I won’t delete and instead’ll just leave it here.
It’s like waking up next to a lion. A lion who likes laughing.
The fog has been here a week now, so thick that it seems almost possible that if could just reach your hand a little farther, you could grasp handfuls of it to eat from the air. Breakfast was a small paper bag of profiteroles from the bakery next to the laundromat. Cold cream explosions draped in dark chocolate. Breakfast was walking through early morning fog, wondering at all the people who were already awake enough to be beginning their day, as if nine in the morning were entirely a normal hour. (Benn being one of them.). Now, yes, I know I used to be like that. I quite liked my nine to five. However, this does not erase the fact that my mind instinctually tells me that eight a.m. should be possibly banned by law. When the sky blushes, embarrassed to be rising so naked, then you should do it the courtesy of hiding your face in some coverlets. Otherwise, disservice and a pox on your house.
I love for the years he has on me, the time he wears so gracefully in his silver hair.
Manic depression scientifically linked to creativity.
Flickr claims they are only for photographs, bans pictures, illustrations. …damned yahoo.
Sara came over after I and I and others went up the mountain, scared for her future. She’s searching for a purpose, just like all the other humans. We’re mammals with opposable thumbs who tell time with blood. In my more empty evenings, I would argue that meaning might be a bit beyond us. There’s people like Katie, who blows stars into being, and I know she’s as lost as the rest of us.
Vancouver Rhino Party seeking people with fictional languages.
This was in my in-box when I got home:
I walked out, into the cold fog, and looked back.
I always have to look back.
And there she was, the Sphinx standing in the firelight, standing in her cave.
For a moment she was there and then, like grains of sand in the wind, she blew away and I realized that not only had I failed to answer correctly, I had missed the riddle.
She had lain the opium of her body upon my lap, my eyes and arms drew her into my blood, making dreams of my senses and in the reverie of my answered prayers I forgot to hear hers.
reminder: KEEP JHAYNE FROM JHAYLE -a party of proportion- #340 – 440 west hastings, Friday, November 25th, 9:00 – onward