Tag Archives | kickstarter

DIY Synthetic Biologists Creating Glowing Trees (via Kickstarter)

This is so sci-fi it’s positively scary! The home brewing school of science has turned to crowdfunding platform Kickstarter to fund the creation of genetically engineered glow-in-the-dark trees, reports Andrew Pollack for the New York Times:

Hoping to give new meaning to the term “natural light,” a small group of biotechnology hobbyists and entrepreneurs has started a project to develop plants that glow, potentially leading the way for trees that can replace electric streetlamps and potted flowers luminous enough to read by.

The project, which will use a sophisticated form of genetic engineering called synthetic biology, is attracting attention not only for its audacious goal, but for how it is being carried out.

glowing plants

Rather than being the work of a corporation or an academic laboratory, it will be done by a small group of hobbyist scientists in one of the growing number of communal laboratories springing up around the nation as biotechnology becomes cheap enough to give rise to a do-it-yourself movement.

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CLOUDS Interactive Documentary: Exploring Creativity Through the Lens of Code

I'm so glad the CLOUDS project was fully-funded by Kickstarter! Part research project, part documentary, this is a prime example of what I'm looking forward to in the future of art; immersive dreamscapes of information driven by creative content and lucid interactivity! Eventually, the audience will have total digital participation with the media at our disposal, and opens up all sorts of questions regarding authorship, artistic intent, storytelling, and our relationship to technology, media and message. What would Marshall McCluhan say?
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Matt Groff’s Viral Drug War Spending Chart

Filmmaker Matt Groff is raising money for a documentary film about the war on some drugs. A simple chart he created for the project has spread far and wide across the interwebs (at right) and Matt has been taken to task for the way the numbers add (or don’t add) up. He responds on his blog:

As the rough chart from my trailer has gone somewhat viral, I’ve started to get some questions on what it represents and I wanted to offer up some clarity on how it came about. The three questions that have arisen most often are the following: where does the 1.3% addiction rate statistic come from? How does this chart add up to $1.5 trillion? Does it make sense to use a relative measurement (addiction rate) with an absolute measurement (spending)?

Where does the 1.3% addiction rate statistic come from?

One of the challenges of evaluating America’s system of drug prohibition is tracking down and assembling the raw data that comes from various entities.

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Tweeter Causes Uproar Over Violent ‘Beat Up Anita Sarkeesian’ Game

Via the Toronto Standard (thanks to Warren Ellis for the tweet):

UPDATE: Stephanie Guthrie received multiple death threats following the publication of this article. Police are now involved and the offending users have been reported to Twitter for account violations.

Women in TO Politics organizer Stephanie Guthrie isn’t known for keeping quiet. When gamer Bendilin Spurr launched the violent and sickening “Beat Up Anita Sarkeesian” game, Guthrie took to the Internet: “So I found the Twitter account of that fuck listed as creator of the ‘punch a woman in the face’ game. Should I sic the internet on him?”

The Internet said ‘yes,’ but not without its own share of misogyny. One user called Guthrie “a cunt.” Trolls tried to scare her. She continues to receive death threats.

But Guthrie wouldn’t be deterred. She called out the Sault Star newspaper, which has since picked up the story (kind of), warned potential employers not to hire Spurr, and sparked enough conversation to further increase her ranking as a prominent local tweeter on politics and feminism.

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Misogyny, Misandry, Freedom of Speech … and Video Games

Ally Fogg, writing at Heteronormative Patriarchy for Men: ... I don’t have much in the way of informed opinions about misogyny in video games, I’ll leave that to others. Nonetheless I couldn’t help but be sucked in by the debate surrounding Kickstarter Anita Sarkeesian, as good an illustration as we’ll ever need of the vitriol of the new gender wars. An intense storm of hatred was roused by her modest idea to crowd-fund research into sexism in the games industry. The many thousands of hostile comments posted on Sarkeesian’s YouTube video were of course heavily gendered and sexualised, but so too was some of the retaliation – notably Charlie Brooker’s description of the mob as “idiotic pebbledicks” who are terrified of women. If one of the worst offences committed by sexists and anti-feminists online is to reduce women...
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New Crowdfunded Graphic Novel Depicts the 1967 Herbert Schirmer Abduction

December 3rd 1967: An Alien Encounter I got an early Christmas present last year: a package from Los Angeles cartoonist Mike Jasorka. Inside was the fruit of his efforts and my $20 Kickstarter pledge: December 3rd 1967: An Alien Encounter, a graphic novelisation of the strange case of Herbert Schirmer, a Nebraska state patrolman who claims to have been taken aboard an alien spacecraft. I commend it to all wrong-thinking disinfonauts everywhere, for several reasons, but mostly aesthetic. The black and white panels occasionally splashed with dramatic colour ensures that the 50+ page book is a visually compelling artefact. It also arrives with a CD, a word for word adaptation from the found audio of Schirmer at a 1970’s UFO conference in Florida, making it simultaneously an aural event (surely a first for a graphic novel, but fanboys will no doubt correct me). Finally, there's the story: of Schirmer's childhood upbringing that leads him to become a police officer, what happened that very night on duty and why even after countless ridicule, he stuck next to the unbelievable truth. Herbert’s heart-felt story speaks of his childhood upbringing that leads him to become a police officer, what happened that very night on duty and why even after countless ridicule, he stuck next to the unbelievable truth ...
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