the Church, the State, and me

Lord, thou hast made us for thyself, therefore our hearts are restless until they rest in thee.
- St. Augustine of Hippo
Posts tagged "Technology"


Devices can be controlled simply by eye movements

Gesture recognition technology has already been used by Shopperception in Argentina to analyze how customers interact with products. Hoping to do the same for digital companies, PredictGaze also lets consumers control their devices hands-free. READ MORE…

(via emergentfutures)

Update: well, someone saw some sense:

Minnesotans, rest assured: Your state government believes you are entitled to free online higher education.

This had been a point of controversy until, well, a few minutes ago. In an earlier post this afternoon, I noted that the free online education provider Coursera had added a proviso to its terms of service that Minnesotans should not take any of its free university courses, or at least that they should do the majority of the work in said courses in another state.

Why was this state suddenly taking a stand against the online education tide?

Apparently someone in the Minnesota Office of Higher Education deemed it necessary for universities that offer courses via Coursera to register with the state, according to an old state law that aims to protect consumers from education scams. Apparently some had not done so.

After this became public, and people raised a few questions about the First Amendment and other matters — namely, how exactly can a free course be a scam? — the office issued a clarification via email.

“Obviously, our office encourages lifelong learning and wants Minnesotans to take advantage of educational materials available on the Internet, particularly if they’re free,” said Larry Pogemiller, director of the office. “No Minnesotan should hesitate to take advantage of free, online offerings from Coursera.”

Pogemiller, according to the e-mail, said a 20-year-old statute requiring institutional registration clearly did not envision free online, not-for-credit offerings.

“When the legislature convenes in January, my intent is to work with the Governor and Legislature to appropriately update the statute to meet modern-day circumstances,” said Pogemiller. “Until that time, I see no reason for our office to require registration of free, not-for-credit offerings.”

Case closed? Not quite….


What in the world!!!?


That wasn’t an earthquake. Just the sound of an entire state taking one big step backward.

The Chronicle of Higher Education reports that the state has decided to crack down on free education, notifying California-based startup Coursera that it is not allowed to offer its online courses to the state’s residents. Coursera, founded by Stanford computer science professors Daphne Koller and Andrew Ng, partners with top-tier universities around the world to offer certain classes online for free to anyone who wants to take them. You know, unless they happen to be from Minnesota.

A policy analyst for the state’s Office of Higher Education told The Chronicle that Minnesota is simply enforcing a longstanding state law requiring colleges to get the government’s permission to offer instruction within its borders. She couldn’t say whether other online education startups like edX and Udacity were also told to stay out.

(via thelearningbrain)


The World’s First 3D-Printed Acoustic Guitar” via Bloomberg BusinessWeek

More awesome 3D printing action, this time an acoustic guitar that actually tunes up and sounds decent (as according to the article that is, would love to hear it in person for myself).

(via emergentfutures)

Check this out while reading Just My Type: A Book about Fonts by Simon Garfield.

12. Linotype: The Film

Named the “Eighth Wonder of the World” by none other than Thomas Edison, the Linotype type-casting machine forever changed printing by replacing hand-set type with elaborate mechanics. The decayed and rusting machines are now the subject of a documentary film that pays respects to their impact on the spread of information in the 19th and 20th centuries.

But what about dogs?

4. Apps for Cats

Not content to let your furry friends miss out on tablet entertainment, Friskies has produced three feline-friendly games. The apps utilize research on how cats respond to stimuli and make for some great entertainment for both pets and their owners.

The Clapper with a twist:

6. BANG! Lamp
Replacing the antiquated notions of switches and clapping is Taiwan-based Bitplay’s playful gun-controlled lamp, which debuted at the New York International Gift Fair. Those who grew up shooting ducks on their Nintendo will delight in the lampshade knocking off kilter when you pull the trigger.


This DIY kit lets you program your plants to tweet whenever they need water. Check it out and discover other nifty tech products in our latest edition of Tuesday’s Tech of the Week.

(via emergentfutures)

Maybe this will be one of the aircraft/spaceships landing at the new Spaceport America in New Mexico:

10. NASA for Virgin Galactic

After bringing the Space Shuttle Program to a close earlier this year, NASA has signed a $4.5 million, three-mission contract with the commercial airline. It’s a partnership that may seem jarring to those who grew up idolizing the space program, as a lucky few tourists and NASA-sponsored research groups take turns aboard the suborbital flights on Virgin.

Check it out.

Ishac Bertran's vinyl sampling

What’s old is new again—who knew vinyl records would be the new hip thing? Here’s taking it one step farther:

2. Analog Vinyl Sampling

Innovative designer and engineer Ishac Bertran outdoes the modern mash-up with his analog vinyl sampling concept. Laser-cutting LPs with fine precision, Bertran cuts and pastes various records together for surprisingly melodious tracks.

Check it out.

Of course, this week there are the obligatory Steve Jobs links:

1. Macbook Memorial

A lot of love has been shown for the Apple CEO, but MintDigital’s portrait of Steve Jobs made from the parts of a Macbook Pro really stands out for its clever concept and beautiful execution.


3. Steve Jobs Patents

If you can measure a man by his patents, the NY Times has a nice interactive piece covering many of the 317 held by the late Steve Jobs. They range from iPod design to Apple store layouts, offering an interesting glimpse inside the mind of highly touted tech genius.

But my favorite is this:

7. Toilet Bike

Only in Japan could you find a gem like this. The three-wheeled Toilet Bike Neo is powered by “100% biogas”, which we can only imagine to mean just what you’re thinking. This weekend will start its trek across Japan from Kyushu to Tokyo.

Hey, if it’s a Toto, you know it’s good.

Check them all out.

First, airplane seats are getting smaller, and now this:

8. Sleepbox

Arch Group answers the prayers of jet-lagged travelers with Sleepbox, a private sleep cabin and shower for hire at airports.

More here:

Sleepbox looks like the perfect private rest stop for any airport. There are boxes with up to three beds, sockets for charging up gadgets, luggage storage space, LED-reading lamps, electric-driven blinds, Wi-Fi, safety deposit box and even a touchscreen TV.