Monthly Archive:: December 2011

Monumental Interactive Smiley

Fühlometer (Feel-o-meter) is an interactive art installation that shows the mood of a city by displaying it in the form of a monumental Smiley. The system allows to read emotions out of random people’s faces. The faces are analyzed by sophisticated software (contributed by the Fraunhofer Institut). The obtained mood data are then stored on a server and processed by the smiley to visualize the emotions in real-time.

The system has been developed as joint project by the artists Julius von Bismarck, Benjamin Maus, and Richard Wilhelmer.

Colombian city gets giant, outdoor escalator

Officials in Colombia’s second-largest city on Monday inaugurated a giant, outdoor escalator for residents of one of its poorest neighborhoods.

For generations, the 12,000 residents of Medellin’s tough Comuna 13, which clings to the side of a steep hillside, have had to climb hundreds of large steps authorities say is the same as going up a 28-story building. Now they can ride an escalator Medellin’s mayor says is the first massive, outdoor public escalator for use by residents of a poor area.

“It turned out very well,” said Mayor Alonso Salazar, adding that he has not heard of any such project elsewhere in this world.

Salazar said officials from Rio de Janeiro plan to visit Medellin to see if such an escalator would work in that city’s favelas, which also cling precariously to hillsides.


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What makes us yawn?

Next time you’re in a meeting, try this little experiment: Take a big yawn, cover your mouth out of courtesy and watch to see how many people follow suit. There’s a good chance you’ll set off a chain reaction of deep breaths and wide-open mouths. And before you finish reading this article, it’s likely you’ll yawn at least once. Don’t misunderstand, we aren’t intending to bore you, but just reading about yawning will make you do it, just as seeing or hearing someone else yawn makes us do it, too.

­So what’s behind this mysterious epidemic of yawning? First, let’s look at what this bodily motion is: Yawning is an involuntary action that causes us to open our mouths wide and breathe in deeply. We know it’s involuntary because we do it even before we’re born: According to Robert Provine, a developmental neuroscientist at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, research has shown that 11-week-old fetuses yawn.

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Top 10 Most Pirated Movies in 2011

As is the case every year, our top 10 lists have a few notable absentees in 2011. These include the top grossing Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides and Transformers: Dark of the Moon. On the other hand, 127 Hours and Sucker Punch were both hugely popular among the downloading public, while their box office grosses were relatively modest.

The data for this list is collected by TorrentFreak from several sources, including reports from thousands of BitTorrent trackers. All release formats, including cammed versions are counted. Afterwards, the data is carefully checked and corrected if needed.


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