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Archive for November, 2011

The Braun BN10 Digital Watch.


Available in stainless steel or black plated stainless steel, the Braun BN10 Digital Watch is the cutting edge of cool. Both versions come with either a stainless steel bracelet or rubber strap depending on the type of outward image you like to project. Featuring the EasySkroll v2.0 operating system, it’s water resistant up to 30m and scratch resistant thanks to K1 hardened glass. The BN10 is currently available for pre-order now via Braun, with retail set at $680 USD.

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Anti-Smoking Campaigns.


ALRIGHT, lets get down to me shooting myself in the foot.  For anyone who knows me personally, and my battle with cigarettes, I’m sure I’ll come under a bit of fire for posting this.  (But who cares).  Regardless of the criticism, I think all the ads in the anti-smoking collection are very well thought out, and extremely attention grabbing.  Some of the images in the collection caused a bit of controversy due to the images, but to be 100% honest, graphic and shocking is what someone needs when starting down the road to quitting.

Impossible Project x Colette Polaroid Kit.


The Impossible Project adorns Polaroid‘s SX-70 instant camera with Colette‘s signature design pattern.  Trademark blue polka dots can be found on the top of the camera, while the rest of the body remains silver and black.  The camera also includes Impossible’s instant film with frames featuring the same print.  Available in a limited number of 50, the Impossible Project x Colette Polaroid Kit can be pre-ordered off the Colette website for 540 Euros.  Alternatively, you can also purchase only the polka dotted PX680 film for 25 Euros.

Lupe Fiasco – The End Of The World.


Click the pic to listen

It’s rare for me to post on a song that isn’t deeply embedded in my musical consciousness much less one I haven’t listened to thoroughly a couple of times, but the continuation of Lupe Fiasco’s Thanksgiving mixtape release tradition (inaugurated with the November 2009 release of ‘Enemy of the State: A Love Story’) is a special exception. For one, it’s Lupe Fiasco. In the aftermath of the career-boosting, reputation-destabilising ‘Lasers’ – whose ragtag compilation of autotuned mishits and austere political commentary has been blamed variously on an overambitious Lupe and an overcontrolling Atlantic Records – it’s good to know that he hasn’t taken its critical panning to heart and is keen to continue innovating and putting out new material. For two, the significance of this mixtape is readily apparent glancing down the track listing. Alongside ‘End Of The World’ which samples M83 (more on them in a moment), the mixtape (traditionally stacked with tracks featuring vocals layed over others’ original beats) features Justice cuts, SebastiAn tunes and Nero, Glitch Mob and Skrillex originals. Not your average hip-hop mixtape than.

Be Your Own Souvenir.


So you’re at the museum, and deep down in the sub-basement right next to the restrooms you happen to discover an enormous machine that looks like it was pulled from the Aliens II movie set. And then you notice you can insert a dollar, and suddenly the machine whirs to life and pipes hot, neon green plasticine into a mold in front of your very eyes as you inahale noxious fumes. Within moments you’re in the possession of a bona-fide neon green submarine, a memento of your visit to the museum that smells strange for days. Be Your Own Souvenir by Barcelona-based blablabLAB is just like that, except a trillion times more awesome. Using custom software developed using openFrameworks and openKinect, visitors film themselves in front of 3 kinect sensors for a full 360-degree scan and within moments a 3D printer known as a RepRap machine spits out a little army guy version of themselves. Every museum in the world should have one of these in their sub-basement, though they can probably install this by the front door.

Billie Achilleos X Louis Vuitton.


In celebrating the 25th anniversary of luxury brand Louis Vuitton being present in Australia, the high-profile company is opening a new flagship store Down Under. Not just a retail shop, however, the location will account for yet another Louis Vuitton Maison, of which can also be found in New York, London, Tokyo and Paris. To heighten the overall brand experience, the Australian destination will feature highly intriguing creations by artist Billie Achilleos, including a variety of native creatures, decked out in Louis Vuitton.

New Image Tools Can Catch A Photo Fake.


A new photograph-analyzing tool quantifies changes made by digital airbrushers in the fashion and lifestyle industry, where image alteration has become the psychologically destructive norm.  “Publishers have legitimate reasons to alter photographs to create fantasy and sell products, but they’ve gone a little too far,” said image forensics specialist Hany Farid of Dartmouth University. “You can’t ignore the body of literature showing negative consequences to being inundated with these images.”

In a Nov. 28 Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences study, Farid and doctoral student Eric Kee debut a computational model developed by analyzing 468 sets of original and retouched photographs. From these, Farid and Kee distilled a formal mathematical description of alterations made to models’ shapes and features. Their model then scored each altered photograph on a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 signifying heavy retouching.

To validate the scores, Farid and Kee then asked 50 people randomly picked through Amazon’s Mechanical Turk task outsourcing service to evaluate the photographs. Computational and human scores matched closely. “Now what we have is a mathematical measure of photo retouching,” said Farid. “We can predict what an average observer would say.”

The researchers started developing their model after learning of the British government’s plans to label photographic alterations in advertising. Psychologists have become vocally critical of such images: By employing an arsenal of retouching techniques, from unnaturally slimmed limbs to the old standby of cleaned-up skin, retouchers create unattainable standards of both beauty and normalcy, ultimately leading to self-destructive body image disorders.

In June, the American Medical Association urged advertisers to work with activists in developing alteration standards. Setting limits, however, is easier said than done.  “One criticism of the British legislation is that they were presenting a blunt instrument. Photographs would be labeled as retouched or not. Anybody knows that there’s different types,” said Farid. “It’s an interesting scientific problem: How much is too much? That got us thinking about whether we could quantify this.”

Farid and Kee’s model doesn’t precisely determine a numerical boundary between psychologically appropriate and inappropriate; that’s a judgement call to be made by society, Farid said. But they do provide an objective metric for evaluating images and trends.  “You look at what photographs looked like in magazines 10 years ago, and there’s a huge difference. And that is escalating,” said Farid.

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