'The Online Image Is Deathless'

Collage, Pinterest, and poison in today's 5 Intriguing Things
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Martha Rosler, Photo-op from House Beautiful: Bringing the War Home, New Series, collage, 2004

1. Why cutting and pasting doesn't provide the satisfaction of gluepaperscissors collage.

"It was possible to mutilate and mutate the spectacle. Though one can collage the online image, or Photoshop it, the mutilated copy is never there, and one never sees the dismembered corpse of the source material. The online image is deathless, forever available and forever pristine. I think this deprives one of a good deal of the pleasure and excitement of the cut." 

 

2. The neuroscientist who thinks consciousness exists in all networks with a certain internal structure... like the Internet, perhaps.

"It's not that any physical system has consciousness. A black hole, a heap of sand, a bunch of isolated neurons in a dish, they're not integrated. They have no consciousness. But complex systems do. And how much consciousness they have depends on how many connections they have and how they’re wired up."

 

3. Cachemonet, a mesmerizing bricolage thing.

"The arrays contain a mix of custom and found .gifs sourced from tumblr... The output is autonomous, generative, art made possible through curation & code.

 

4. Pinterest decomposes web pages into their constituent objects. Their data describe a collage, say, of the most popular pictures on Walmart.com.

"Pinterest said today that its first API will help stores and brands display which of their items were most frequently and recently pinned... Next, Pinterest said, it will give sites more ways to mash up their data, like most-recent and related pins, and adding information about which items and keywords are trending on Pinterest into their search engines."

 

5. Poison. Poison!

"Immunity to poison also has its surprises. The manchineel tree from the same Colombian forest, we learn, has crab-apple-size fruits that can swell the throat so breathing becomes nearly impossible; its sap can cause temporary blindness; even rainwater dripping from the leaves makes the skin blister. Manchineel sap poisoned the arrow shot at the Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de León after he landed on the coast of Florida in 1521; he died 'in agony within days.' Yet iguanas happily sleep in the tree’s branches and eat its fruit."

 

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Alexis C. Madrigal

Alexis Madrigal is the deputy editor of TheAtlantic.com, where he also oversees the Technology Channel. He's the author of Powering the Dream: The History and Promise of Green Technology. More

The New York Observer has called Madrigal "for all intents and purposes, the perfect modern reporter." He co-founded Longshot magazine, a high-speed media experiment that garnered attention from The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and the BBC. While at Wired.com, he built Wired Science into one of the most popular blogs in the world. The site was nominated for best magazine blog by the MPA and best science Web site in the 2009 Webby Awards. He also co-founded Haiti ReWired, a groundbreaking community dedicated to the discussion of technology, infrastructure, and the future of Haiti.

He's spoken at Stanford, CalTech, Berkeley, SXSW, E3, and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and his writing was anthologized in Best Technology Writing 2010 (Yale University Press).

Madrigal is a visiting scholar at the University of California at Berkeley's Office for the History of Science and Technology. Born in Mexico City, he grew up in the exurbs north of Portland, Oregon, and now lives in Oakland.

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