SciFly // 166 // Remote Speculations Week 78/79

Speculative Events, News & Resources | Sent 9/20

Hey Scifly Readers!

A couple of quick updates about me, then I want to share a really cool opportunity I got turned on to by a member of the Speculative Futures community!!!

Also, I've spent all weekend helping my Mom move out of my childhood home, so was emotionally and physically exhausted when I finally got home late Sunday night to write this. I kept nodding off before the caffeine kicked in, and need to head to bed now without more proofreading, so if there are any little mistakes in here, I beg your forgiveness!

A Couple of Quick Updates


1// MY IFTF Foresight Talk is Live Online!

Last week, I had the honor of joining the Jacques Barcia for the IFTF Foresight Talks to discuss "Speculative Futures: Designing with the Future in Mind". The video is now LIVE online, and you can find a link here. I'll also embed it further down in the newsletter.

2// Speaking at NYC Media Lab Future Imperfect Conference on 10/6

I'm super excited to announce that I will be moderating a panel "The Metaverse & Storytelling Panel " at the NYC Media Lab Summit 2021: Future Imperfect coming up October 6th - 7th from 12:30-1:15pm ET!

The Metaverse & Storytelling
As new platforms offer uniquely holistic worlds of virtual existence, a panel of experts will discuss virtual life, the economy of the Metaverse, and, ultimately, its impact on the self. Is the Metaverse today’s Ready Player One? What happens when our virtual and analog lives blend beyond distinction? Will avatars, digital currencies, and machine-generated content take over the media landscape? This panel dives deep into the ever-evolving world of new media, human interaction, and creative storytelling.

Speakers: Dana Martens (Moderator), Design + Tech Professor at The New School's Parsons School of Design; Edward Saatchi, Founder of Fable Studio; Dirk Lueth, Co-Founder of Upland

If you are free, you should definitely attend! Tickets are free for students, and $25 general admission. All the talks will be held online.

To learn more and register, visit the event page.

3// The Futures x Design Guide is Live!

As we have been teaching the FxD workshops over the last couple of months, I have been hard at work on creating a FREE guide to the FxD framework that explains the different modes/methods and introduces activities and tools to help people move through speculative projects. I'm super excited to announce the guide is finally live on our website. Head over and download your free copy!

Biodesign Sprint 2021

Art meets Design meets Science

I'm super excited to share this really awesome challenge from one of our Speculative Futures community members, Kelsey Schoenberg!!! 

Kelsey works at a really cool quarterly journal called Issues in Science and Technology and told me about their friend's awesome project, the Biodesign Challenge who recently launched a new collaboration with the Google Hardware Design Studio to create a Biodesign Sprint!!!

Yous should absolutely check it out and apply if you are interested!!!


Biodesign Sprint 2021

The first-ever Biodesign Sprint organized by Bio Design Challenge and the Google Hardware Design Studio is a month-long innovation challenge that calls for projects that reimagine how biotechnology could be integrated into consumer electronics to create a more sustainable future. 

Anyone from any discipline in any country can participate!

Teams of 1–6 people can apply by September 29 in student and nonstudent tracks.

At the end of the Sprint, teams will compete for cash prizes and potential opportunities to collaborate with leaders in the consumer electronics industry.

For more information, check out the challenge website, or you can find them on social media. Check the links below and remember, the deadline is coming up soon, September 29!!!
Apply Now!
As always, I hope you are all doing well, wherever you are!

Don't forget you can find me on the Speculative Futures Slack (which I pseudo-moderate) if you want to chat! @DocMartens

Stay safe in your speculations, and catch you next week!


"The future is here, now let's distribute it." 

Doc Martens

SciFly is a design studio dedicated to leveraging speculative design and science fiction to imagine and prototype alternative futures enabled by today's emerging technology.

Online Events 🗓

Events are organized chronologically by week with events from Speculative Futures chapters listed separately at the end.

WEEK 1 - Tuesday, September 21st - Monday, September 27th


Tuesday, September 21

DT Cloud Salon: Xiaowei Wang
This session will feature Xiaowei Wang author of “Blockchain Chicken Farm”, and the creative force behind such work as “How to Feed an AI”, “The Future of Memory”, and “Cybernetic Witch Tools". Xiaowei Want is a technologist, filmmaker, artist, and writer. The creative director at Logic magazine, their work encompasses community-based and public art projects, data visualization, technology, ecology, and education. They recently published a book, Blockchain Chicken Farm (a New York Times Book Review Editors' Choice), finished a web art residency with Akademie Schloss Solitude/ZKM, and wrote about place + desire for Transmediale.
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Tales from the CyberSalon  – #3 Future Communities // 1:30pm - 3:30pm EDT // Free
In their seminal 1986 study, McMillan and Chavis identified four elements contributing to a “sense of community”: Membership, Influence, Reinforcement, and Shared Emotional Connection. As our territorial and technological landscapes continue to evolve, we invite you to explore that definition with us and to offer new visions of community in our near future. The Internet’s role as a force for rapidly changing our experience of community was provided some surprise competition this past year, in the form of Covid-19. As we emerge from our lockdowns and self-imposed isolations into the world again, is this our chance to choose our communities anew? Who might they be next? What could they look like? Have we discovered Covid-19 ‘keepers’ or developed ones we should never want again?
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Brooklyn SciFi Film Festival // 9/20 - 9/26 // Free

The Brooklyn SciFi Film Festival (BSFFF) returns for a second year, continuing its mission to bring a diverse slate of independent, SciFi films to one of the most innovative and creative hubs in the world: Brooklyn. The week-long film festival will feature works by some of the most dynamic new voices in the genre including select film screenings which will be available to stream free online September 20th through the 26th.
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Cooperativist Design // Session 2 - a doctoral design research experiment // 7am - 10am EDT // Free
Building from the outputs from the first workshop we now open the participation wider. Here we seek to begin shaping a design vernacular and methods that aim to target needs unique to shared-ownership and shared-governance. Designers and social practitioners are invited to join this session to give inputs on what languages and thematic areas are key for moving this exploration forward. There will be a short snapshot of cases, space for participants to share their preferred design tools/frameworks, and inform the selection of prototypes to move forward. 
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The Future Is... // 8pm - 9:30pm EDT // Free
This virtual gathering will be a place for re-imagining a future we individually and collectively want to be part of. Poet Jena Schwartz will guide us through a thought journey that considers our individual and communal sense of place and the role of language and reflection. Such an exercise will allow us to realize the relationship between our words and our actions. Join us for an evening of connecting, brainstorming, and exchanging resources and ideas.
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Experiments, Disruptions, Affordances – Practices for Future Innovations // 4am - 5:30am EDT // Free
At the launch event of the newly established Advanced Digital Design and Fabrication (ADD+F) Research Hub at the Melbourne School of Design, ABP Faculty members of the research hub will discuss Experiments, Disruptions, Affordances – Practices for Future Innovations, with national and international guests. While the research undertaken by participants ranges from artistic experiments to problem- and demand-orientated investigations, each guest will start with opening statements on their approaches to innovation and research. This will be followed by conversations around questions relating to design and innovation.
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Wednesday, September 22

🔥If We Ruled the World II // 2pm - 4pm, 9/22 - 10/27 (6 Week Class) // From €187.64
How can we imagine and visualize new societies and future scenarios using speculative design and 3D world building techniques? ‘If We Ruled the World’ is a strategy exercise in which participants rethink global systems using tools from speculative design and worldbuilding. The live session refers to the Buckminster Fuller’s World Game, proposed in 1961, for the era of the global crisis and economic emergency. Fuller proposed the World Game as an information system that makes the resources around the world visible so they might be acted on.
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Reflections with Machines // 8pm - 10pm EDT, 9/23 - 10/28 (6 week class) // From €187.64
How do we live at the intersection of the critical and the creative through artificial computing? Machine learning advancements are now accessible for exploration, social and philosophical pontification. “Reflecting with Machines” offers a low-code/no-code opportunity to bring the digital humanities closer to artificial intelligence. The class highlights how human progress and criticism can shape the conversation in the advancements of machine learning models as technology and society continue to intertwine.
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AIxDesign Workshop: Fictioning Synthetic Reality w/ Lenka Hamosova // 12pm - 2pm EDT // €6
Synthetic media, as part of the constantly evolving field of artificial intelligence, heralds a completely different way of working with data, creating media content, communicating, working, creating and perceiving reality. Although synthetic media is most popular due to deepfakes, the real-world applications of AI-driven media synthesis extend far beyond memes, fake news, and pornography. Whether in visual, audio, or textual form, AI-generated synthetic media exemplifies real-appearing fiction and brings unprecedented creative possibilities.
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Facial Animation Summit // 12pm - 2pm ET // Free
Hear from gaming and AI industry experts discussing how the future of facial animation will shape how companies do business, followed by a lightning round Q+A.
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UW Astrobiology Presents: What Is the Future of Humanity in Space? // 9pm EDT // Free
Four astrobiologists from UW try to answer "What is the future of humanity in space"? The four panelists (Thea Weiss, Greta Shum, Héctor Delgado Díaz, and Dominic Sivitilli and moderator Evan Davis) will draw upon their unique experiences and expertise in topics including virtual environments, climate science, exoplanet astronomy and alternative forms of intelligence to imagine the future. What is the future of humanity's relationship with space? What lessons can be learned from humanity's past? How will we interact with life if it exists elsewhere in the cosmos, and what would it mean to us to learn that we are not alone?
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Thursday, September 23

RIXC Art Science Festival: PostSENSORIUM // 3am - 2pm EDT // €0 – €9
PostSensorium festival aims to provide a platform for artistic interventions and critical discussions on the 21st-century's virtual sensing technologies, science, and aesthetics, reconsidering the relations between the actual and virtual, organic and artificial, natural and techno-social, human and “more-than-human”. 
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Digitizing Materiality: The Materialized Body, Digitization, and Surrogacy // 12pm - 10pm EDT // Free
This workshop will explore the theme of the body and the materiality of scientific objects in the digital age in three parts, focusing on digital surrogates in collections. The three sessions address the benefits and challenges of digital surrogacy across media, spanning medieval manuscripts, early modern pop-up books, 18th-century paintings, and 19th-century wax modeling.
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Artist Talk - Lyndsey Walsh  // 2pm - 3pm EDT // Free
Lyndsey Walsh is an American artist, designer, writer, researcher, and creative producer based in Berlin, DE. Lyndsey is enthralled by the creatures emerging from the spaces in between and crossing over the imaginary, the becoming, and reality. Her work explores the instability surrounding the cultural and social aspects of disease, identity, the body, disability, death, human and non-human relationships, and speculative narratives on the future. She is also ½ of the feral and queer artistic collaboration called Crawlers, along with Australian artist and writer Jess Cockerill.
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Visualizing A Better Future // 8pm EDT // Free
Do you watch animated movies or play video games? Do you click on a digital link or image to see more? Do you puzzle over the ethical use of computer technology? If so, you can thank—in part—computer scientist and professor Andy van Dam. Van Dam has devoted his life’s work to revolutionizing how people and ideas connect through computers, how people and computers connect through interactive graphics, how scholars connect through digital humanities education, and how technology and society can connect in ways that are good for humanity.
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Feminist Visions of the Future of Women’s Work // 12pm - 1pm EDT // $0+
We are still far from achieving gender equality at work, as our modern workplace is designed by men for men. Women’s economic participation and prosperity face systemic barriers and are further threatened by the digitization and automation that drive the future of work. Yet, the impacts and discussions around the future of work are often gender-blind. In this Brown Bag Lunch, we will use a systemic lens to explore gender equality in the workplace and use strategic foresight to re-envision inclusive and equitable futures.
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Engaging Citizens for Inclusive Futures - S1:E3 // 12pm - 1pm EDT // Free
We believe there are many ways to engage citizens in inclusive futures – from community wealth building to citizen participation – and that access to data will unlock the digital economy and provide value to citizens. Join us for an engaging evening with speakers who have been leading this discussion.
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Dope Your Life: Creating Ancient Futures | A Talk with Steven White / 7pm - 8pm EDT // Free
Join us for a conversation with Steven White, founder of Seven. Steven is a strategist, creative, and integrator who has a Masters in Design and Innovation Methods from IIT Institute of Design. Informed by author Steven's curiosity and design research background and illustrated by Aaron McConnell (illustrator of New York Times Best Seller The Comic Book Story of Beer), Ancient Futures takes readers on a mind-bending journey through conspiracy theories, global conflict, quantum physics, ancient mysticism, Afropunk, Jungian psychology, and metacognition.
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VP Learning Laboratories: Making Environmental Data Meaningful // 8pm EDT // Donation
Environmental Data is often an abstract concept, detached from the complexities of the space or situation it describes. Using citizen science, coding and making, Michael creates narratives for environment data that produce an emotional and relatable dimension. Working with a variety of coding languages, data is brought to life through performance and interactive sculptures. Michael will give an overview of his practice, focusing on works that involve environmental data and will highlight some tools and techniques he uses to transcribe this data into expressive artworks using Arduino, Raspberry Pi and MaxMSP. A demonstration of one such work, the Pollution Piano, will use water samples collected from rivers in Winnipeg to create an acoustic representation of local water quality.
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Friday, September 24

Evolving Ourselves with Unnatural Selection // 11am - 12pm EDT // Free
Have you ever wondered about the ethical implications of emerging technologies? We hear more and more in the news about gene-editing technology and the ethical implications, and complexities of this can seem overwhelming. Researchers at the University of Edinburgh and St Andrews have been working together with artists to explore this complex area of research, the ethical implications of editing, adapting and transforming our ecosystems. Come along to this event where we explore and present some of the ethics and future implications of gene editing through a digital multi-arts approach.
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Possible Futures: OPIRG Carleton Rad Frosh // 9/24, 6pm - 10/3, 2pm EDT // Free
What does it look like to radically re-imagine a world that is different from the one we live in, and how do we get there?
Possible Futures: OPIRG Carleton Rad Frosh encourages incoming students, and community members to stretch our imaginations and conceptions of what is possible - hoping to ground the social and political actions of today in our goals for the future. 
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X-Camera presents Arne Eigenfeldt // 1pm EDT // Free
Computational assistants are now used regularly in creative industries, but can they reach beyond the level of assistant? In this X-Camera talk, professor and composer Arne Eigenfeldt will explore the possibilities of using artificial intelligence (AI) for music creation. With over 15 years of experience using AI in his own generative music systems, Arne will describe his collaborative relationship with his own digital agents, musebots. Much of Arne’s recent work has been autonomously composed by musebots, bringing together multi-agent systems, machine learning, and generative music.
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Saturday, September 25

Fabulist Fiction: Identity Exploration through Myth & Magic // 2:30pm - 3:30pm EDT // Free
Sometimes the only way to tell a true story about the self is to tell a myth. Fabulism is the literary cousin to science fiction, fantasy, and other speculative genres: authors who write fabulist fiction incorporate magical and fantastical elements into an otherwise realistic setting. Why straddle this line between the ordinary and the extraordinary? What is so alluring about that in-between space—especially when art is exploring questions of identity? Join our authors as they discuss their own approach to fabulism, and how the myths and legends of their heritage inform the magical elements in their fiction.
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Because of This Panel Discussion: Black + Indigenous Histories and Futures // 4pm - 6pm EDT // Free
Join Charlotte Street for the first Because of This: Panel Discussion where speakers will focus on and center the past, present, and future works of Black and Indigenous artists, historians, designers, developers, musicians, and poets. Panelists want to acknowledge and affirm the contributions of Black and Indigenous peoples' presence to the arts and culture sectors of the Midwest. As a part of the year-long series, Because of This, curator Mary Lawson has organized two panel discussions that will explore why Black and Indigenous peoples choose to make the Midwest their creative home, and why those who have roots in the Midwest have chosen to leave for other creative communities. 
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Story I/O - Decentralized Storytelling & the Metaverse // Columbia Digital Storytelling Lab // 10:30am - 4pm EDT // Free
Story I/O returns Saturday, September 25th for a day of exploration and experimentation focused around decentralized storytelling and the metaverse. Join storytellers, makers, hackers, activists, educators and students as we co-create imagined futures and new myths in an effort to see what it takes to design stories related to climate that can last seven generations. What is co-created at Story I/O will live beyond the event as the outputs from the day will go on to be part of a series of special events that will tour in 2021/2022.
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Sunday, September 26

Workshop: Worldbuilding for the Curious with Avi Silver // 4pm - 5pm EDT // Free
Join Avi Silver, author of the Sãoni Cycle, for a one-hour intensive on all things worldbuilding. They are a founding member of the Shale Project, a multimedia collaborative storytelling initiative roughly in the shape of a planet! Shale has its own geography, history, languages, and creatures, and is both a storytelling hub and a worldbuilding playground.
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A Punk History of Neon In Los Angeles // 9:30pm - 12:30am EDT // $0 - $30
Explore the unexpected ways that punk forever changed the neon landscape and the cross-cultural explosion of punk in Los Angeles in the 1980s with Paul Greenstein and Dydia DeLyser and the Museum of Neon Art (MONA). In the 1980's Paul Greenstein was one of the leaders of the neon punk renaissance along Melrose and used DIY punk tactics to transform the LA landscape. Paul Greenstein also played a role in the transformation of many venues in Los Angeles to punk spaces, through his work as a promoter and self described "Bum vivant." 
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Monday, September 27

Haunted Space: A Virtual Roundtable // 1am - 2:30am EDT // Free
This event follows Reading & Screening the Fantastique's previous roundtable on ‘Viral Science Fiction’, where we examined diverse manifestations of the viral as presented in speculative media and how throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, many have turned to film, literature, and other media that encapsulate what it means to live through a real-world viral outbreak. Whether it be speculative or science fiction, fantasy, horror or other genres that fit within the broad category of the fantastique, we believe these texts offer us the opportunity to process difficult real-world situations, including isolation and fears of dehumanisation, within a mediated environment, and would like to explore this idea further via this roundtable.
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WEEK 2 - Tuesday, September 28th - Monday, October 4th

Tuesday, September 28

Climate & Change: Video Games & Architecture // 6pm EDT // $0 - $10
Join us as MODA's Executive Director, Laura Flusche, interviews Jose Sanchez, architect, game designer, and theorist based in Detroit, Michigan. Sanchez will be talking about the development of video games Block'hood and Common'hood and his quest to create video games that help people of all ages start thinking about how humanity is interconnected, and what kinds of communities we want to create.
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Who gets to imagine the future? // 8am - 98am EDT // Free
As we emerge from the pandemic there is a collective opportunity to rethink and to create bold, community-led practices that can steer us towards a better future. This is the time for imagining radical initiatives that match the size and complexity of the challenges we face. Imaginative thinking is vital to help communities realise these ambitions and to prosper and thrive, but in the current crisis it can be hard for communities to find the capacity and capability for strategic foresight, leaving the act of imagining our collective futures to those in positions of privilege and power.
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Daniel Greene - Book Talk: The Promise of Access // 12pm - 1::30pm EDT // Free
Daniel Greene presents from his new book, The Promise of Access (MIT Press) that asks why do we keep trying to solve poverty with technology? What makes us feel that we need to learn to code—or else? In The Promise of Access, Daniel Greene argues that the problem of poverty became a problem of technology in order to manage the contradictions of a changing economy. Greene shows how the digital divide emerged as a policy problem and why simple technological solutions to complex social issues continue to appeal to politicians and professionals who should (and often do) know better.
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 More Just, More Sustainable Futures 1.0: Artistic Research PhD Symposium // 9/28, 8:30am - 9/29, 1:30pm EDT // Free
Postgraduate research students (PhD) at the University of Plymouth are curating and hosting an online symposium under the broad theme of multiple ecologies, diverse ontologies, and ethico-onto-epistemological exchanges. The symposium will explore ways artistic research/practice-research imagines paths towards alternative visions for more just, sustainable presents and futures for our collective environments. It aims to reflect practices that are inclusive of different frames of reference and diversity in working, doing, and thinking.
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Co-housing: An eco-feminist model for architecture? // 12pm - 1:30pm EDT // £4.33 – £7.48
What is eco-feminism and how could it relate to architecture? This conversation will use this question as a starting point to further explore co-housing as a possible model for eco-feminist practice in architecture, addressing the role architects can play in creating low-impact and gender-equal homes.
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The Transformative Possibilities of The Available City // 6pm - 7:30pm EDT // Free
Deeply rooted in a framework for collaboration and community-led design, The Available City asks us to consider the collective impact that space can have in cities today. The Transformative Possibilities of The Available City explores the practice of engaging communities in collaborative and participatory design processes. Architect, author, academic, and activist, Dr. Craig L. Wilkins, and Chicago Architecture Biennial 2021 Artistic Director David Brown will discuss Wilkins’ work on spatial justice in marginalized communities as it relates to a critical theme of The Available City: the future of the more than ten thousand city-owned vacant lots that are concentrated on the South and West Sides of Chicago, in predominantly Black and Brown neighborhoods.
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Qin Li: The Responsibility of Design // 10pm - 11pm EDT // Free
Qin Li, VP of Design, leads fuseproject’s industrial design, packaging, and CMF practice. Harnessing her creativity and leadership, she takes a holistic and multidisciplinary approach to teaming and engaging all the disciplines within a fully informed, thorough, and integrated process. Human-centered experience design serves as the foundation of Qin’s philosophy around how designers can add value, improve quality of life, and address some of the world’s most pressing problems. 
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Wednesday, September 29

Intro to Future Scenario Design: Workshop // 7pm - 8:30pm EDT // Free
Future scenarios are the working material from which we may discover patterns or threads of change. Join us to learn a strategic design skill: how to surface the key ideas, connections, opportunities, and conflicts in a particular future.
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Designing Virtual Worlds // 11am - 12pm EDT // Free
World Design is as critical to a game's success as its base mechanics, and there is no better person we can think of to help walk us through the intricacies of Virtual World Design than Richard Bartle, Senior Lecturer and Honorary Professor of Computer Game Design at the University of Essex, UK. He is best known for having co-written in 1978 the first virtual world, MUD, and for his 1996 Player Types model which has seen widespread adoption by the MMO industry. His 2003 book, Designing Virtual Worlds, is the standard text on the subject, and he is an influential writer on all aspects of MMO design and development.
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Future Food Series: Fermentation // 12pm - 1:30pm EDT // Free
Fermentation is fast becoming a game changer for the alternative protein industry. From tempeh to beer, this powerful process has been used for centuries to produce, preserve, and improve food and beverages. Nowadays, it can also be leveraged to produce versatile proteins, tasty whole-cut meat alternatives, and nutrient-rich ingredients. Join us for a talk about all things fermentation - from traditional to biomass to precision. Our guests for this event are pioneering startup founders and experts in these fields. 
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Thursday, September 30

Biodesign: What's Brewing in the Midwest? // 1pm - 2:30pm EDT // Free
Join us for an online symposium and open conversation with the founding members of the Midwest Biodesign Hub to learn more about their practices and perspectives on biodesign. In brief dialogues, they will discuss the skills, experiences, and backgrounds that have positioned the Midwest at the frontier of biodesign. Talks include: "Why Do My Engineering Students Need to Read Frankenstein?", "How and Why Should Data Become Visual?" "Why Practice Speculative Design When We Still Face Real-World Problems?"
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Engineering Ethics in the Age of Digital Advancement // 2am - 3am EDT // Free
The future of multiple industries is being impacted through the advancement of digitization and AI. Our Civil Engineering industry is no different and the future holds significant change and opportunity as technology plays an ever-increasing role in our work. This advancement also brings up the question of ethics as we are asked to help shape this new future. What will this technology look like? What parts of our jobs do we anticipate for it to play a part? How do we ethically build a model that works at all levels and inspires trust both within yourself and with the community that we work with? And the biggest question of all, how do we become greater ethical engineers ourselves?
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Tell Me About That World: Speculative Archives and Black Feminist Listening // 7pm - 8:30pm EDT // Free
How can we build more expansive and rigorous frameworks for imagining sustainable, loving, and liberatory futures? Taylor Thompson believes one strategy is learning to listen to each other's dreams with a deliberate, embodied practice. In the online oral history exhibit "Tell Me About That World: Speculative Archives + Black Feminist Listening Practices" Taylor interviews community care organizers in NYC about the worlds they hope to usher in through their organizing; she then presents a small speculative archive mixtape of those conversations. To accompany the mixtape, Taylor develops a guided listening practice, staked in black feminist tradition, with which to engage the narratives. 
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Community Conversations: From Data to Art // 8pm - 9pm EDT // $0 - $45
In her ongoing series, Carrying Stones Project, Sawyer Rose makes visible the invisible by giving life to data through art. Her sculptures tangibly illustrate important statistics about women’s unpaid labor, giving way to conversations around social norms, expectations, and inequalities in our society. How can we interact with data in a non-passive way? What can we learn through data? What messages do we consume or convey through how data is interpreted and represented? What happens when art and data collide?
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Digital Democracies Tech Talk: Making terrible robots and making them great // 8am - 9am EDT // Free
The aim of this class is to introduce the audience to the importance of interactivity and engagement, the value of aiming low when prototyping, and the challenges of starting a creative technology business in the middle of a pandemic. All through the medium of robots. Built for close-up interaction with people, using little more than fabric, air, light, and computation, Air Giants’ big-scale robots draw from puppetry, robotics, software, and interactive technology, and they aim to bring a sense of joy and wonder to large audiences.
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Friday, October 1

The Material Origins of Technology // 10am - 11am EDT // Free
As one of the best electrical conductors, tin is a vital component of smartphones, computers, automobiles, household equipment and green energy technologies. In this talk, artist Riar Rizaldi will be discussing his moving image work Kasterit (2019), which traces the origin of tin back to Bangka Island, Indonesia, where a third of the world’s tin supply is mined. Exploring the ways in which we trace this material history through screens, Rizaldi will be in conversation with art historian Ana Bilbao Yarto to discuss the politics of extractivism in the Global South. From the “catastrophic beauty” of ruined landscapes turned into tourist attractions to the human rights violations undergone to support our screen culture, Rizaldi and Bilbao Yarto will discuss the role art can play in examining the colonial implications of technological industries today.
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YouTube Premier of Intercultural Arts & Futurism // 10/1, 11pm - 12am EDT // Free
Join PAN!K MUSIC MEDIA & EMMPATH Society as we explore ideas around intercultural arts & futurism. The arts can expand our perspectives and cultivate a greater understanding through: storytelling, representation, and sharing accessible content that opens doors to others' experiences. Join Ms.PAN!K and artists from around BC: imagining the future of arts is something we should all be doing to flex our minds. What does that look like to you? What do you vision? Ms.PAN!K will set out on a journey to explore some ideas around these topics asking artists from many backgrounds a few colourful Q's about how they view intercultural arts and how they would use their art as a foundation to build healthier communities & start visioning what the future looks like to you!
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Virtual IoT City Walk // 6am - 7:30am EDT // Free
Explore how IoT and Edge Computing are being used in public places and the implications this has on developing policies for their design and deployment at the local level. Participatory Policies for IoT (at the Edge) Ethics (P-PITEE) uses design methods to develop new policies for transparent and ethical deployment of secure Internet of Things sensors in public spaces. Using our Field Guide to IoT in the City we will explore and interact with a range of speculative and real IoT and Edge computing deployments using the Gather Town platform.
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Saturday, October 2

ReFueling Our Future (PART1) // 11am - 12:30pm EDT // Free
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released a 2021 report that has been called a “Code Red for Humanity”. It is estimated that we have until the year 2050 to bring greenhouse gas emissions to net zero, but what does that mean, and how can we decarbonize the world we’ve built? In this session, you will explore questions about decarbonization and design a personalized investigation to pursue answers. The plan you create can be used to spur an individual exploration, a student inquiry project, or a community conversation on how to fuel the future.
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Sunday, October 3

Future of Energy Week // 10/3, 9:30pm - 10/7, 3pm EDT // Free
Before covid-19, the demand for fossil fuels was already dropping. In 2018 coal’s share of the global energy supply fell to 27%, the lowest in 15 years. Oil futures fell in late 2018, and slumped heavily in the early days of the pandemic before mounting a recovery from May 2020. Now the world is in the midst of an energy shock that has the potential to speed up the shift to a more sustainable economy. In its upcoming Future of Energy Week, The Economist Events will invite policymakers, energy experts, business leaders, academics and scientists to break down the concept of energy transition, consider the issues that need to be overcome and explore what a change in the energy system means for Asia and the world.
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Monday, October 4

Critical Interface Design // 10/4 - 11/1, 12pm - 3pm EDT (6 week class) // From €187.64
The interface mediates worlds - between the imaginary and the real, the past, future and present, the creator and the user, the artist and the engineer, the human and machine. They are a reflection of not only our desires but their creators’ too. While there are some good reasons, in recent times, many of our interfaces have become increasingly transactional, manipulative, polarising and cookie-cutter. What roles can new interfaces play to help collaborate, reorganise, share, communicate, regenerate for our communities and the environment? One way to help is to increase the diversity in interface design. This course acts as an alternative introduction to user experience (UX) and interface design, where we use this contemporary craft for culture jamming and speculative making.
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Atlanta Design Festival: The Future Places Project // 12pm - 1pm EDT // Free
The City of Atlanta has a fascinating history that is represented in its buildings, places, culture, and people. At the same time, there are variety of viewpoints regarding the role of historic buildings and places in the City. The last time a comprehensive analysis was undertaken and a strategy was developed regarding the City’s historic buildings and places was in the mid-to-late 1980s, almost 30 years ago. Since that time, the City and its people, along with its planning framework and the maturity of its urban design have all changed considerably. In short, a comprehensive strategy was needed to understand how the City’s historic resources and preservation programs will both influence and be impacted development and how preservation programs will work in collaboration with the City’s other planning efforts. The “Future Places Project” is that strategy. Learn more about the Future Places Project and how the Department of City Planning has begun its implementation through new designations and programs.
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Hello Meatspace, My Old Friend // 6pm EDT // Free
Professor of Choreography and Emerging Technologies at Brown University, Sydney Skybetter narrates the choreographic history that bridges dancing military robots, surveillent software platforms, and centuries-old French notation practices. Through analyses of ballet history and contemporary robotics manufacturer Boston Dynamics, Skybetter sketches out the risks and opportunities of the emerging, interdisciplinary field of choreorobotics, employing visual examples.
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Upcoming Speculative Futures Meetups 

Nothing to Report 👾

Speculative News & Resources 📰

News, resources, and musings about emerging technology, speculative practice, and futures design and related topics.

How Apple and Nike have branded your brain | Your Brain on Money // Big Think [video]
Powerful branding can not only change how you feel about a company, it can actually change how your brain is wired. "We love to think of ourselves as rational. That's not how it works," says UPenn professor Americus Reed II about our habits (both conscious and subconscious) of paying more for items based primarily on the brand name. Using MRI, professor and neuroscientist Michael Platt and his team were able to see this at play...
Watch Video

MIT Scientists Report 'Major Advance' In Fusion Energy // VICE
A future powered by fusion energy is closer than ever before. This week, scientists at MIT got a large high-temperature superconducting electromagnet to a strength of 20 tesla. That’s the most powerful magnetic field of its kind ever created on Earth. “Fusion in a lot of ways is the ultimate clean energy source,” Mari Zuber, MIT’s vice president of research, said in a Wednesday press release on the experiment. “The amount of power that is available is really game-changing.”...
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This Hybrid Boat-plane Could Transform the Way We Travel Between Major Coastal Cities // Travel + Leisure
As lawmakers take steps toward improving the infrastructure of roads and railways across the U.S., Regent, a Boston-based startup, has set its eyes on another target: the sea. According to CNN Travel, the company hopes to turn sea lanes along the east and west coasts into high-speed transportation corridors, cutting commutes in half between some of the biggest and busiest metropolises in the U.S. Still in its early stages, Regent already has the backing of some of Silicon Valley's biggest investors who have pledged to help fund the endeavor...
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Astronauts can build cosmic concrete from moon dust, pee, and their own blood // FastCompany
Aled Roberts was in his lab, coaxing proteins together to develop a synthetic spider silk, when he stumbled onto an unanticipated breakthrough. To test his own silk, he’d created what scientists call a “control.” It was a comparison sample, using a protein from cow’s blood that wasn’t supposed to work much at all. This cow silk wasn’t supposed to be nearly as sticky as anything spiders might produce. “Surprisingly, we found it was really good at sticking together,” says Roberts, a research fellow at the University of Manchester...
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A horrifying new AI app swaps women into porn videos with a click // MIT Technology Review
The website is eye-catching for its simplicity. Against a white backdrop, a giant blue button invites visitors to upload a picture of a face. Below the button, four AI-generated faces allow you to test the service. Above it, the tag line boldly proclaims the purpose: turn anyone into a porn star by using deepfake technology to swap the person’s face into an adult video. All it requires is the picture and the push of a button...
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NY Confirms Isreal Killed an Iranian Scientist with a Robot Sniper // Futurism
Iran’s top nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh was assassinated by an AI-assisted sniper rifle remotely controlled by Israeli operatives, reports The New York Times. This confirms Iran’s Revolutionary Guard’s account of the events of November 27, 2020 when they claimed a “smart satellite-controlled machine gun” killed the scientist as he was driving his wife to their country home east of Tehran. Fakhrizadeh was shot at least four times by the smart rifle, which was hidden in a pickup truck a short distance away. His wife was physically unharmed...
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Drone Highways In The Sky Could Be On The Horizon // Benzinga
No longer the stuff of science fiction, highways in the sky are a very real proposition. Already, four states have test-run legislation that restricts drones to aerial corridors. Drone companies, states, and the Federal Aviation Administration are working to regulate the national airspace, and many industry advocacy groups, regulators, and operators see a drone "highway" model as the way forward. But they face a sizable and vocal opposition...
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You can now explore the Universe virtually — spanning 13.8 billion years in time // TNW 
Itis only a dream to explore the Universe by sailing between galaxies, soaring through vast regions of the Cosmos in a comfortably-short period of time. But now, an international group of researchers have found a way to make this dream come true. A new virtual universe allows anyone to swoosh through the Universe in an unprecedented virtual setting...
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Refugees are buying groceries with iris scans. What could go wrong? // Protocol
Nowhere in the United States can someone pay for groceries with an iris scan (though the Department of Homeland Security is considering collecting iris scans from U.S. immigrants, and Clear uses iris scans to verify identities for paying customers at airports) — but in the Jordanian refugee camps, biometric scanners are an everyday sight at grocery stores and ATMs. More than 80% of the 33,000-plus refugees who receive cash assistance and (most of them Syrian) and live in these camps use the UN's Refugee Agency iris-scanning system, which verifies identity through eye scans in order to distribute cash and food refugee assistance...
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Tele-Driving Startup to Deploy Remote-Controlled Cars as a Step Towards Full Autonomy // SingularityHub
Self-driving cars are taking longer to hit roads than many experts predicted. Despite impressive progress in the field—like trucks using self-driving features to move freight more efficiently, Waymo launching its robotaxi service for vetted riders in San Francisco, or Tesla rolling out version 10 of its full self-driving software—we’re a long way from ubiquitous Level 5 autonomy. What if there was some sort of in-between, a workaround to give us a glimpse of a future where empty cars deftly navigate city streets? A Berlin-based startup called Vay has come up with just such a solution, and it is, in short, creative, unexpected—and sort of ingenious...
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The Battle for Digital Privacy Is Reshaping the Internet // NY Times
Google recently outlined plans to disable tracking technology in its Chrome web browser. And Facebook said last month that hundreds of its engineers were working on a new method of showing ads without relying on people’s personal data. The developments may seem like technical tinkering, but they were connected to something bigger: an intensifying battle over the future of the internet... 
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The Journey to Define Dimension // Quanta Magazine
The notion of dimension at first seems intuitive. Glancing out the window we might see a crow sitting atop a cramped flagpole experiencing zero dimensions, a robin on a telephone wire constrained to one, a pigeon on the ground free to move in two and an eagle in the air enjoying three. But as we’ll see, finding an explicit definition for the concept of dimension and pushing its boundaries has proved exceptionally difficult for mathematicians. It’s taken hundreds of years of thought experiments and imaginative comparisons to arrive at our current rigorous understanding of the concept...
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Ohio State Offers Augmented Reality Spine Surgery // AR.Rocks
An orthopaedic spine surgeon at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center is the first in Ohio to use an augmented reality guidance system during open and minimally invasive spine implant procedures. The Augmedics Xvision Spine System enables surgeons to simultaneously view overlaid images of a patient’s spine while looking at the patient on the operating table. The surgeon wore an augmented reality headset which displays the position of surgical tools in real time and superimposes them on the patient’s imaging data...
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the facebook files // Wall Street Journal
Facebook Inc. knows, in acute detail, that its platforms are riddled with flaws that cause harm, often in ways only the company fully understands. That is the central finding of a Wall Street Journal series, based on a review of internal Facebook documents, including research reports, online employee discussions and drafts of presentations to senior management...
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Wifi Technique Uses Fidgeting to Count a Seated Crowd // Futurity
A new method counts the people in a stationary, seated crowd with WiFi signals and without each person holding a device. The key is fidgeting. The technique, which also counts through walls, needs only a wireless transmitter and receiver outside the area of interest where the crowd is sitting. It has a variety of applications, including smart energy management, controlling the crowd size during a pandemic, business planning, and security...
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HoloPlayer One Achieves Holograms Sans Glasses Within Reasonable Price Range // NextReality
A Brooklyn-based startup has launched a glasses-free holographic display for less than the cost of an iPhone 8 Plus. HoloPlayer One (see what they did there?), from Looking Glass Factory, consists of a light-field display, such as those rumored to appear in Magic Leap's device, which provides 32 views of a scene retro-reflected from an LCD screen filtered through a lenticular sheet...
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This Totally Immersive ‘Virtual Intimacy System’ Blurs VR Sex and Reality // Futurism
Loneliness comes for us all eventually. Fortunately, we’re living in an era during which incredible technological strides are being made in our ability to combat this universal menace. In fact, VR Sex is no longer confined to the realm of science fiction. It’s science fact. Take, for instance, the Virtual Mate, the world’s first totally immersive virtual intimacy system that has cracked the code of artificial companionship once and for all...
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Synthetic biology enables microbes to build muscle //
Would you wear clothing made of muscle fibers? Use them to tie your shoes or even wear them as a belt? It may sound a bit odd, but if those fibers could endure more energy before breaking than cotton, silk, nylon, or even Kevlar, then why not? Researchers at the McKelvey School of Engineering at Washington University in St. Louis have developed a synthetic chemistry approach to polymerize proteins inside of engineered microbes. This enabled the microbes to produce the high molecular weight muscle protein, titin, which was then spun into fibers...
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Social media influencer/model created from artificial intelligence lands 100 sponsorships // Allkpop

With the advancement of technology, AI influencers and virtual human models are becoming the new trend. It has recently emerged as a blue-chip in the advertising industry because there are no privacy scandals and there are no time-space restrictions with these virtual humans. 'Rozy' is a virtual human that was created Sidus Studio X last year in August. Her age will forever be 22, and she has been keeping an active presence online as a real human since December of last year. According to CEO Baek Seung Yeop, Rozy currently has advertising contracts with companies and a significant amount of sponsorships...
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Self-sustaining solar house on wheels wants to soak up the Sun // ArsTechnica
The creators of a new “self-sustaining house on wheels” are hoping their strange-looking project will help spark interest in solar vehicles. The vehicle, called the Stella Vita, was made by Eindhoven University of Technology students. Solar Team Eindhoven's 22 members previously created a smaller solar-powered family car called the Stella Lux. According to Tijn Ter Horst, a member of the team and a mechanical engineering student at the university, the Stella Lux was energy-positive. “She could power other electric vehicles because she had so much energy left,” Ter Horst told Ars...
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Startup’s Mushroom Leather Ready for Commercial Production // Futurism
A new biotech materials startup called Bolt Threads has created a leather-like material it calls Mylo that could revolutionize the fake leather market — and it’s ready to go mainstream. Bolt Threads says it’s ready to produce the material on a commercial scale, according to the report, producing as much as a million square feet a year. Adidas and Lululemon are already on board. Advanced faux leather products could help alleviate the burden of raising animals, a heavily polluting — and to many ethically questionable — process. It also doesn’t rely on plastic pollutants like many other varieties of fake leather...
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Fun Stuff 🚀

Cool projects, articles, games, books, and other nerdy speculative things that I've discovered recently.

Open Calls/Submissions/Opportunities & Cool Projects

Open Calls, Submissions & Other Opportunities

Environmental Justice (EJ) Movement Fellowship // Deadline 9/26
In coordination with Environmental Justice (EJ) leaders from across the country, The New School is launching Ripe for Creative Disruption: An Environmental Justice Movement Fellowship (EJMF). The unprecedented speed, magnitude, and impact of climate change requires redesigning our global economic, social, and political systems. Incremental, reformist climate change responses have been ineffective. What the world needs now are solutions that transform the extractive systems that cause environmental harm. The EJ Movement’s critique of political, social, and economic systems and focus on frontline solutions for those most vulnerable to climate change make it prime to disrupt the status quo and advance transformative climate solutions.
Learn More & Apply

Biodesign Sprint 2021 // (10/7 - 11/4) - Deadline 9/29
Biodesign Challenge and the Google Hardware Design Studio are partnering on an month-long design Sprint to explore better ways to reduce carbon, increase biodiversity, and bring positive change to both people and the environment. We invite students, professionals, hobbyists, and enthusiasts from across the globe to envision and create products that function in symbiotic harmony with the environment. Participants will compete for cash prizes and potential opportunities to collaborate with the Google Hardware Design Studio. Throughout the month, we offer guidance, networking, and programming for participants. The Semifinal event where all teams present to a panel of Google and BDC experts is on November 3. The Top Eight Finalist presentations will be broadcast live at the Biodesign Sprint Finals on November 4. All events will be held online.
Learn More & Applyl

Processing 20th Anniversary Community Catalog | Call for Submissions // Deadline - October 1st
What does being a part of the Processing community mean to you? We’re creating a community catalog to celebrate all we’ve done together with Processing for the last 20 years! We hope you will consider contributing a page that represents how you’ve been a part of the community. You can share art you’ve made, code you’ve written, an event you organized, a workshop you taught, or anything else! Your page can be anything—a sketch, some writing, a photo, a screenshot, a collage, a poster, a mini-zine, etc! We hope to receive 1000s of pages! We’re excited to see what you share, and please share this call with your friends.
Learn More & Submit

Entelechy Experiment 001 | Alentejo Portugal (10/16 - 10/31) 
This is the flagship experiment so you will be the experiment of the experiment. Be open to iteration and innovation on the fly. You will be plucked out of your comfort zone and dropped in a former abandoned chicken farm that’s being converted into a Traditional Dream Factory - a co-living imagination institute in rural Portugal. You will be quickly asked to question yourself and your worldview and apply those questions to multiple layers of our human experience. You will be taught introspection, community design and systems thinking tools.
Learn More & Apply

Cool Projects

New trend report: Into the Metaverse // Wunderman Thompson
Wunderman Thompson Intelligence presents "Into the Metaverse," a new report exploring the consumer behaviors, business models and brand opportunities that are emerging as the metaverse takes shape...

Gaming, Shows, Books & Other Random Cool Stuff

Why are hyperlinks blue? // Mozilla Blog dist://ed
The internet has ingrained itself into every aspect of our lives, but there’s one aspect of the digital world that I bet you take for granted. Did you ever notice that many links, specifically hyperlinks, are blue? Culturally, we associate links with the color blue so much that in 2016, when Google changed its links to black, it created quite a disruption. To truly understand the origin and evolution of hyperlinks though, I took a journey through technology history and interfaces to explore how links were handled before color monitors, and how interfaces and hyperlinks rapidly evolved once color became an option...
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17 Iconic Fashion Moments in SFF History // Tor
Do you think they have a MET Gala in Middle-earth? If they don’t, they should. As a fantasy writer, I believe no fantasy world is fully realized without fashion. Fashion, though often considered to be nothing more than frivolity, is as integral to a world’s rendering as its resources, its struggles, its power structures, and its art. In fact, fashion is the instrument by which all of these are often expressed. It can be frivolity, yes, but often it’s everything else as well. This is why I’ve compiled my list of the seventeen most iconic fashion moments across science fiction and fantasy...
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We'd LIke, Totally Carry this Retro Boombox Cyberdeck on our Shoulder // Hackaday
Cyberdeck. For those of a certain age, the ‘deck’ part conjures visions of tape decks, be they cassette, 8-track, or quarter-inch, and we seriously have to wonder why haven’t seen this type of build before. But here we are, thanks to [bongoplayingmonkey]’s Sanyo Cyberdeck, a truly retro machine built into a cool old boombox...
Check it Out

New From Razer: Gamer Thumb Condoms // Kotaku
It isn’t April first, but nobody told Razer when it announced its gaming “finger sleeves.” Yes, finger sleeves: They are literally little sleeves that cap off your fingers to supposedly enhance their grip, and these particular finger sleeves are pitched at the gamer market. This isn’t the first time Razer announced a product that sounded too ridiculous to be real. But unlike Razer’s concept for an RGB-enabled Covid face mask, Project Hazel, this gaming finger sleeve is already available for purchase on its website...
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What I'm Reading

Here is a quick snapshot of my favorite books, shows, games podcasts, and articles this week.

A Memory Called Empire
Arkady Martine

A Desolation Called Peace
Arkady Martine

Episode 53: F*ck Your Nihilism! (Our Opinions Are Correct Podcast)
Annalee Newitz & Charlie Jane Anders

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