Tuning your guitar can be a pain, especially when you’re on stage or in a rush. The Roadie 2 is a smart tuner that can automatically tune all stringed instruments. It uses a vibration sensor instead of a microphone to determine whether your ukelele or cello is in tune—that’s super helpful in noisy environments. It connects to your smartphone via Bluetooth and comes with 40 preset tuning options. $129.
If you want to give your drumming a little extra flair, check out these drum sticks light up in the dark. The poly-carbonate, 5B sticks—one of the most common sizes—have battery-powered, motioned-activated LEDs that fade through 13 colors. Batteries are included. $25.
If you aren’t a drummer but still want your playing to stand out in a dark room, these light-diffusing, polycarbonate guitar picks glow in the dark and hold a charge for more than an hour. They’re charge via a MicroUSB cable and shine two different colors depending on whether you’re picking up or down on the strings. $40.
Relive your childhood—presuming you’re older than 30ish—with this Namco Museum Greatest Hits LP, which plays songs from Pac-Man, Dig Dug, and Galaga. The 19-song album comes with a 8-page booklet with artwork from all the games. $35.
I got a chance to play the JouerNow keyboard at a toy fair a few weeks ago and had way too much fun messing around on it. The roll-up 49-key keyboard has a built-in speaker, hums with eight different sounds, and lets you record your performances. It’s battery-powered—three AAs—or can be plugged in via USB chord. $53.
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via Popular Science – New Technology, Science News, The Future Now http://ift.tt/2k2uJQn
The North Star: The Emancipation of Frederick Douglass (V1) by Barron Bell
Frederick Douglass was born into slavery in 1818. Through the course of his life, his force of will, tenacity and ferocious sense of justice not only helped him escape his enslavement but self-educate pushing him onto the national and international stage as a statesman. His life intersected with many pivotal events that helped shape our young nation’s history. He was a man of faith, a businessman, a politician and a prophet of the 19th Century. Frederick Douglass forced a country to reevaluate its moral core.
Dr. Barron Bell, comic book writer and educator joins forces with DC and Marvel Comics artist Koi Turnbull and writer of Route 3 and various other publications, Robert Jeffrey II to introduce Frederick Douglass’ story to a new generation. This comic book series will bring these events to life with exciting and dramatic imagery and help to reintroduce one of history’s greatest abolitionists at a time when such heroes are few and far between. The funds we raise will go toward production costs and printing. Chapter 1: Blackbird is scheduled to be released in July 2018.
Chapter 1: Blackbird will begin the story of Frederick Douglass as he has just escaped from a life of torture and servitude. As he navigates the streets of 1830’s New York City, he must evade slave catchers and freedmen who have hidden agendas. He reminisces upon his life from childhood up until his escape and tries to determine his next steps in a brand new world.
Dr. Barron R. Bell is a graduate of Regent University with a Masters degree in film and animation and a PhD in Adult Education. As a comic book writer and penciler, he published his first book in 2001 entitled “Cobalt: Warrior Angel” and most recently Radio Free Amerika published by Terminus Media based in Atlanta, GA. Bell received two Glyph Award nominations (Rising Star and Best Male Character) for his work on Radio Free Amerika. For many years he’s worked as a storyboard artist for film and television and is currently a Professor of graphic design and animation at The Art Institute of Portland and Liberty University.
Coy Turnbull (the original spelling) was born on December 12, 1976, in Elmhurst, Queens, New York. Most of his early years were spent in New York. When he was 13, Turnbull’s family moved to Asheboro, North Carolina. There, he learned the ins and outs of the comic industry from working at a local comic shop with fellow future comic inker John “Waki” Wycough. Turnbull learned from the likes of local artist Randy Green and Rick Ketcham, who mentored him in preparation for a future in comics. In 1997, Turnbull moved back to New York to pursue a career in comics. His skills were noticed and he began work as a background artist on Marvel projects for Adam Pollian and Walter McDaniel. In 2002, Turnbull’s big break happened during the Wizard World Chicago Comic Convention, at a portfolio review with Aspen MLT’s Frank Mastromauro (Executive Vice President) and Peter Steigerwald (Vice President of Publishing). The work caught their eyes, and a week after the con they contacted him about future employment with Aspen MLT. After receiving the penciler job with Aspen MLT, Turnbull moved to Santa Monica, California to work in the Marina Del Rey studio. Working under the direction of Michael Turner, Turnbull’s talent grew, and with that followed Turner’s run on Fathom with his own run starting with Fathom Volume 2. Not feeling hindered by the large fan following of Turner’s work, Turnbull was able to follow Mike’s work with his own and bring his influence to the comic during his run. Following Turnbull’s run on Fathom, he has since found work with DC Comics (working on Flash and Superman Confidential), Marvel Comics (Terror INC, New Warriors, Black Panther and One Month 2 Live storyline) and other comic projects.
Robert Jeffrey II is a freelance writer based out of Atlanta, GA and was chosen as a participant in the DC Comics Class of 2017 Writers Workshop. He is currently the Editor In Chief for BlackSci-Fi.com and has written for such publications as J’Adore Magazine, The Atlanta Voice Newspaper, and Urban Voices in Comics.
His work with Atlanta based Terminus Media includes creator-owned comics (Route 3, Daddy’s Little Girl) and other Terminus Media published books such as the Glyph Comic Award nominated Radio Free Amerika and Terminus Team-Up. His comics work includes contracted client work, including custom comics and animation scripting/editing duties for clients such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Nitto Tires, the Soul of Suw comic book series, and HERO Comics’, The Messenger.
Robert is a recipient of the 2008 Miller Brewing Company A. Philip Randolph Messenger Award/ Journalism Award of Excellence in the field of AIDS/Health, and his creator-owned series, Route 3, won the 2014 Glyph Comics Award for Best Cover.
In 2016 he was named as one of Comics Alliance.com’s “20 Black Comic Book Creators on the Rise”. In 2017 Route 3: Vol 1 was nominated for the Glyph Comics Award for Best Reprint Publication. He’s yet fulfilled his dream of pop-locking to save a community center.
via New Projects : Kickstarter http://ift.tt/1qVuSzd
There have been several leaks that have hinted at what the next Tomb Raider game would be. Square Enix has finally confirmed that the next game in the franchise will be “Shadow of the Tomb Raider”. The official launch date for the game is September 14 reports GameSpot.
The game will launch for PS4, Xbox One, and PC at the same time, no exclusives to tie the game to a single platform. The previous Tomb Raider game was an Xbox One exclusive. Shadow of the Tomb Raider is described by Square Enix as “Lara Croft’s defining moment as she becomes the Tomb Raider.”
There is a teaser video that you can watch dropping hints at what you can expect in the game. That trailer is on the official game website and is hidden. A puzzle that has to do with the game will land Monday at 9 am PDT.
Square Enix is also teasing the official game reveal event set for April 27. That is about 42 days away as of writing. Pre-orders for the game are underway now.
via Legit Reviews Hardware Articles http://ift.tt/Ihhl0h
The very first iPhone apps were universally dull. And then Bloom came out. Brian Eno and Peter Chilvers built the app and released it just a few months after Apple opened the App Store in July 2008. It was immediately obvious that something special was happening. The app was interesting on an artistic level, one that made you reconsider the relationship between technology and music. And my God, these two have done it again with augmented reality.
Eno and Chilvers just revealed Bloom Open Space, an AR version of the original iPhone app. That app showed the world that smartphones weren’t just tools for checking email or listening to mp3s. They could be creative tools as well. Bloom enabled anyone to compose music simply by touching the screen. Each touch became a note and a corresponding colorful bubble called a Bloom that expanded on the screen as the soundtrack evolved according to a mysterious set of parameters. You could even compose a soundtrack and fall asleep to it thanks to a sleep timer. To say it was ahead of its time would not be giving Eno and Chilvers enough credit.
Bloom Open Space debuted at a recent exhibition in Amsterdam’s Transformatorhuis, a cavernous warehouse space that’s now sometimes used as a music venue. Not knowing what to expect, I showed up early for a press preview, and the space felt immediately intoxicating. We were just west of the city center in Westerpark, a sprawling green space speckled with old industrial buildings, where the houses full of technology from a century ago would be the setting for my music-driven glimpse of the future, complete with a computer I’d wear on my face.
The whole experience was powered by the Microsoft HoloLens, an AR headset first announced three years ago that has always seemed a little bit ridiculous to me, despite some incredible technology. The HoloLens is a $3,000 piece of hardware that essentially functions as a heads-up display for any given activity. Using some of the technology that powered the Kinect, the HoloLens can scan your surroundings and monitor your movement while also displaying information inside of a visor. It’s basically a very advanced version of Google Glass.
The only problem is nobody knows what to do in the world of augmented reality. Except Brian Eno and Peter Chilvers, I guess. To the two creative masterminds, part of the fun thing about augmented reality is how it invites us to explore unexpected things. This type of experience meshes nicely with Brian Eno’s pioneering work in generative music, a term Eno himself coined that refers to music that constantly changes according to a set of rules. The original Bloom app actually adhered to some generative music principles.
Eno himself is a legend who has worked with the likes of David Bowie and David Byrne. His early music experiments yielded works like Ambient 1: Music for Airports, a landmark album in the history of ambient music. More recently, Eno has become interested in applying his musical concepts to technology-driven experiences. That led to his years-long partnership with Peter Chilvers and a number of music apps.
“Imagine if composing could be more like gardening than architecture,” Eno said at the preview of Bloom Open Space. “You do control the input, but you don’t control the output.”
Bloom Open Space isn’t just about wearing some future goggles and walking around an art installation. Inside of the dark case space in Amsterdam, there were screens, each about ten feet tall with a hexagonal audio rig floating above it. Chilvers calls the space “Screen Henge.” He’s half-kidding, but it felt somehow sacred when I walked in. At the very least, the situation was imposing.
Each screen displayed floating dots, just like the ones in the Bloom iPhone app, and the ambient Brian Eno-produced soundtrackseemed like it cast warm glow onto everything in the room. The composers (or users or visitors or whatever you want to call the participants) would enter Screen Henge wearing HoloLens headsets and interact with the space by pinching the air in front of their faces. The cameras and sensors embedded in the HoloLens would register this gesture as well as the position of the composer and create a Bloom with a corresponding musical note. Then, magically, the room’s soundtrack would change and evolve in unpredictable ways.
When I finally got to strap on a HoloLens and compose some music myself, I was initially surprised by how different Bloom Open Space was from the original app. It goes without saying that walking around and making music in augmented reality was more immersive than tapping on an iPhone screen. But what threw me for a loop was how three-dimensional the experience was. Not only was I creating my own Blooms, but I could also see other composers’ Blooms through my HoloLens and interact with them. I could also move to another spot in Screen Henge and hear a completely different version of the composition we were all creating.
Bloom Open Space, Eno explained, wasn’t just an experience for the HoloLens wearers interacting with the screens and helping to create the music. Only those wearing HoloLens headsets inside of Screen Henge could create Blooms and change the soundtrack, but the spectators would experience music and visuals that were completely original and that would never be heard again in the same way. Experiencing something that will never happen again is blissfully soothing in its own way.
Of course, the experience inside the HoloLens is deeper. The device fits on your head like a halo and features a heads-up display behind a goofy-looking visor. There are also small speakers above your ears that provide natural-sounding audio. So you’re seeing and hearing the real world, but you’re also seeing images and hearing sounds programmed by a HoloLens developer that only you can see and hear in that moment.
In the case of Bloom Open Space that developer was Eno’s collaborator Chilvers, a musician and code jockey with a knack for simplicity. Chilvers has a specific take on experiencing AR. “It’s not augmented reality,” he said in Amsterdam. “It’s filtered reality.”
Put another way, Bloom Open Space isn’t a project designed to add new stimuli to your already chaotic world. It’s actually there to simplify it in a sense. Once you provide the input by pinching your air, you see the Bloom, and it develops a life of its own, transforming and changing thanks to systems that came from the minds of Eno and Chilvers. To make things even more interesting, not every pinch actually makes a Bloom, and your Blooms can interact with others’ Blooms.
After experiencing Bloom Open Space, I looked at the landscape for AR in a new light. Most people have encountered AR apps through their phones. The first AR I remember using was the Monocle Easter Egg hidden in the Yelp app that let you look at businesses around you through your phone’s camera. If a business had a Yelp listing, the app would display information. Now, thanks to ARKit, developers can build more complex AR experiences for the iPhone, though the only really useful app I’ve seen is Ikea Place, which allows you place virtual furniture in your house. Otherwise, the novelty of playing an AR game on your coffee table or placing a virtual dinosaur in your living room tends to wear off pretty quickly.
While it’s obvious that straightforwardly utilitarian applications (like the Ikea one) can be useful, it’s more interesting to imagine what artists and musicians could do with the technology. The fact that I could use the HoloLens to interact with a Brian Eno project sounded interesting when I first heard about it. But actually experiencing it was unforgettable. Cheesy as it sounds, it almost felt like I was collaborating with Eno and Chilvers, and the entire time I had no idea where my input ended and the app’s output began.
“There is part of our consciousness that wants to find patterns,” Eno said about this experience. “We can’t bear the idea that it might be chaotic.”
Well, I’d add that we can’t bear it until a talented artist or thinker helps us to relish in the chaos. That’s what Bloom Open Space feels like.
It’s unclear if Eno and Chilvers plan on taking Bloom Open Space out on the road. I hope they do. Much like I felt a decade ago when I first tinkered with the Bloom iPhone app, the mixed reality experience made me reconsider the future of technology and feel like exciting new things are on the horizon. The app took the familiar gesture of tapping a pool of water and turning it into a little piece of digital art. Now that Eno and Chilvers managed to translate that into a truly interesting AR experience, I can’t wait to see what comes next.
Nitrogen Gas Is Now the Execution Method of Choice in Oklahoma
The United States is dealing with a drug shortage—a legal injection drug shortage, that is. In response, states where capital punishment is still practiced are having to come up with new ways of killing people. Earlier this week, Oklahoma announced that it will start using nitrogen gas for all its executions moving forward, making it the first US state to do so. Critics worry that the method is still unproven as an ethical alternative, and that Oklahoma has yet to devise a protocol for the procedure.
This idea has actually been around for a while. Inert gas asphyxiation, or hypoxia, whether it be from nitrogen, argon, helium, and methane, reduce concentrations of oxygen in the blood when a person is subjected to an oxygen-poor environment. Around 10 people are accidentally killed each year in the US from nitrogen asphyxiation, typically people working in industrial plants, labs, and medical facilities. Nitrogen gas is colorless and odorless, making it a dangerous and difficult-to-detect substance when there isn’t enough oxygen to go around. Nitrogen gas is often used to slaughter animals such as chickens.
Trouble is, nitrogen gas has never actually been “tested” on humans, so we’re not entirely sure how smoothly these executions might go. According to the US Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board, when atmospheric concentrations of oxygen are less than 12.5 percent, people experience poor judgment and coordination, and impaired breathing that can cause permanent heart damage, nausea, and vomiting. When oxygen levels are less than 10 percent, nitrogen gas causes a complete inability to move, loss of consciousness, convulsions, and eventually death.
These horrible symptoms aside, a 1995 National Review article titled “Killing With Kindness: Capital Punishment by Nitrogen Asphyxiation” deemed the technique ethical, and recommended that states use it to kill prisoners. A BBC documentary called “How to Kill a Human Being” reached a similar conclusion, as did Slate writer Tom McNichol in his 2014 article, “Death by Nitrogen.”
But given Oklahoma’s poor track record, there’s legitimate concern the state will somehow screw this up. Back when EPA head Scott Pruitt was the state’s attorney general, he said Oklahoma execution officials were “careless, cavalier, and… dismissive of established procedures.” Dale A. Baich, a lawyer who represents nearly two dozen Oklahoma death-row prisoners, told the Washington Post that:
This method has never been used before and is experimental. Oklahoma is once again asking us to trust it as officials ‘learn-on-the-job,’ through a new execution procedure and method. How can we trust Oklahoma to get this right when the state’s recent history reveals a culture of carelessness and mistakes in executions?
Indeed, nitrogen has never been used in this way before, at least not that we know of, so no protocol exists for its use in executions. Apparently all that’s required is a gas mask and a container of nitrogen, according to a financial analysis prepared by Oklahoma state legislators. Obviously there’s got to be more to it than that. Of course, there’s always the option to abolish the death penalty, which more than half of the world’s nations have done.
Schools Are Spending Millions on High-Tech Surveillance of Kids
Advanced surveillance technologies once reserved for international airports and high-security prisons are coming to schools across America. From New York to Arkansas, schools are spending millions to outfit their campuses with some of the most advanced surveillance technology available: face recognition to deter predators, object recognition to detect weapons, and license plate tracking to deter criminals. Privacy experts are still debating the usefulness of these tools, whom they should be used on, and whom they should not, but school officials are embracing them as a way to save lives in times of crisis.
On Monday, the Magnolia School Board in Magnolia, Arkansas approved $287,217 for over 200 cameras at two schools. According to the Magnolia Reporter, the camera system will be capable of “facial recognition and tracking, live coverage, the ability to let local local law enforcement tap into the system in the event of a school situation, infrared capability and motion detection.”
And they aren’t the only ones. Earlier this month, the Lockport City School District announced it was installing new cameras outfitted with both face recognition and object recognition software. According to the software’s maker, faces can be matched against a database of gang members, fired employees, and sex offenders, while the object recognition tech can look for weapons and other prohibited objects.
“It is cutting edge. We’re hoping to be a model [for school security],” said Dr. Robert LiPuma, director of technology for the district told the Niagara Gazette. The paper reports the school district plans to spend “nearly all” of a $4 million state grant on new high-tech security measures at eight schools.
LPR cameras match license plates numbers against against national databases. They’re a quick way for law enforcement to know if a car has been stolen or if the owner is wanted for arrest, but also provides a wealth of information on where people go. If you’re not a suspect in a crime, cops can’t follow you around in your car all day. But, with a series of LPR cameras, officers could map where you’ve traveled all day, essentially granting them the same information, without ever having to seek a warrant.
Privacy and civil liberties experts are concerned, however, that the push to include biometric and location tracking security will have unforeseen consequences.
“Schools are justified in thinking about safety, both in terms of gun violence and other possible hazards,” Rachel Levinson, senior counsel at the Brennan Center for Justice, told Gizmodo. “At the same time, these technologies do not exist in a vacuum; we know, for instance, that facial recognition is less accurate for women and people of color, and also that school discipline is imposed more harshly on children of color.”
The technology isn’t foolproof. A study in February found that several face recognition systems had significantly higher failure and misidentification rates when used on dark-skinned and female faces, echoing earlierstudies about the accuracy of such software.
Similarly, the databases people would be matched against are unreliable. People are frequently added to gang databases based on suspicion, without any gang-related convictions or even arrests. A 2016 audit found California police had added dozens of toddlers less a year old to its CalGang database.
“Any school or school district considering adopting these kinds of technologies must address these issues head on,” Levison said, “involve parents and the school community at large in any decision-making, and be fully transparent about how information gathered is used, retained, or shared, particularly with law enforcement or school resource officers.”
Additionally, undocumented and immigrant parents may have reason to worry about LPR implementation in schools, as ICE was recently granted access to one nationwide LPR database. If LPR cameras come to schools across the country, these parents might have legitimate fears about being targeted by ICE when dropping off their kids.
Ultimately, when schools turn to surveillance as a public safety tool, they’re also bringing the muddled issues of privacy, race, and fairness that comes with it. Technological proposals to protect students come with the same promises as those in the public sphere: faster, more accurate systems capable of larger scale identification. But, they come with the same problems of privacy and power.