Archive for February 9th, 2012

February 9, 2012


Mona Lisa Remix by Gary Andrew Clarke

Divisionism [dih-vizh-uh-niz-uhm] (also called Chromoluminarism) was the characteristic style in Neo-Impressionist painting defined by the separation of colors into individual dots or patches which interacted optically. By requiring the viewer to combine the colors optically instead of physically mixing pigments, divisionists believed they were achieving the maximum luminosity scientifically possible.

Georges Seurat founded the style around 1884 as chromoluminarism, drawing from his understanding of the scientific theories of Michel Eugène Chevreul, Ogden Rood and Charles Blanc, among others. Divisionism developed along with another style, pointillism, which is defined specifically by the use of dots of paint and does not necessarily focus on the separation of colors.

February 9, 2012

Dan Reisinger

Dan Reisinger

Dan Reisinger (b. 1934) is an Israeli designer of graphics, exhibitions, and stage sets. He was born in Serbia, into a family of painters and decorators active in Austria-Hungary and the Balkans. Most family members died in the Holocaust, including his father. He immigrated to Israel in 1949. Reisinger initially lived in a transit camp and then worked as a house painter. In 1950 at age 16, he was accepted as a student—its youngest at the time—at the Bezalel Academy of Art and Design in Jerusalem.

He graduated in 1954 and was inducted into the Israeli military for mandatory service. He was the art director for the Air Force’s books and other publications. While there, he attended a class on postage-stamp design taught by Abram Games, who became his mentor and friend. Subsequently, he traveled, studied, and worked in Europe: from 1957 in Brussels and then onto London where, 1964–66, studied stage and three-dimensional design at the Central School of Art and Design (today the Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design), designed posters for Britain’s Royal Mail. Then in 1966, he returned permanently to Israel and established a studio.

February 9, 2012

Ben Frost

Lucky For Some by Ben Frost

Ben Frost is an Australian visual artist who places common iconic images from advertising, entertainment, and politics into juxtapositions that are often confrontational and controversial. The collaborative exhibition ‘Colossus’ with Roderick Bunter in 2000 at the Institute of Modern Art in Brisbane featured a 12m x 2.4m mural by the artists, called ‘Where Do You Want To Go Today?’

Containing controversial imagery, including masturbating cartoon characters among a pastiche of advertising icons, the work was a statement on society’s continuing loss of innocence. In the final week of the exhibition, a disgruntled viewer entered the gallery and slashed one of the paintings with a knife.’ In 2005 he started the online art store and blog portal ‘Stupid Krap,’ which continues to support and represent a number of notable Australian emerging artists.

February 9, 2012

Illegal Number

chris dodd by Cosmo Wenman

An illegal number is a number that represents information which is illegal to possess, utter or propagate. Any information that can be represented in binary format is representable as a number, and therefore if the information itself is illegal in some way, the pure number itself may be illegal. An illegal number may represent some type of classified information or trade secret, legal to possess only by certain authorized persons. An AACS encryption key that came to prominence in 2007 is an example of a number claimed to be a secret, and whose publication or inappropriate possession is claimed to be illegal in the United States. It allegedly assists in the decryption of any Blu-ray Disc.

As a protest of the DeCSS case, many people created ‘steganographic’ (hidden) versions of the illegal information. Dave Touretzky of Carnegie Mellon University created a ‘Gallery of DeCSS descramblers.’ In the AACS encryption key controversy, a ‘free speech flag’ was created. The illegal number was so short that a simple flag could be created by using the numbers as red-green-blue colors. The argument is that if short numbers can be made illegal, then anything based on those numbers also becomes illegal, like simple patterns of colors, etc.

February 9, 2012

Prior Art


Prior art in most systems of patent law constitutes all information that has been made available to the public in any form before a given date that might be relevant to a patent’s claims of originality. If an invention has been described in prior art, a patent on that invention is not valid. Information kept secret, for instance, as a trade secret, is not usually prior art, provided that employees and others with access to the information are under a non-disclosure obligation. With such an obligation, the information will typically not be regarded as prior art. Therefore, a patent may be granted on an invention, although someone else already knew of the invention. A person who used an invention in secret may in some jurisdictions be able to claim ‘prior user rights’ and thereby gain the right to continue using the invention.

Prior art generally does not include unpublished work or mere conversations (though according to the European Patent Convention, oral disclosures also form prior art). It is disputed whether traditional knowledge (e.g., of medical properties of a certain plant) constitutes prior art. Patents disclose to society how an invention is practiced, in return for the right (during a limited term) to exclude others from manufacturing, selling, offering for sale or using the patented invention without the patentee’s licence. Patent offices deal with prior art searches in the context of the patent granting procedure. To assess the validity of a patent application, patent offices explore the prior art that was disclosed before the invention occurred (in the United States) or before the filing date (in the rest of the world).

February 9, 2012

Malcolm McLaren

cash from chaos

Malcolm McLaren (1946 – 2010) was an English performer, impresario, self-publicist and manager of the Sex Pistols and the New York Dolls. As a solo artist, McLaren had an innovative career that helped introduce hip hop to the United Kingdom.

About his contribution to music, McLaren has said about himself: ‘I have been called many things: a charlatan, a con man, or, most flatteringly, the culprit responsible for turning British popular culture into nothing more than a cheap marketing gimmick. This is my chance to prove that these accusations are true.’

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February 9, 2012

Home Taping Is Killing Music

home sewing

Home Taping Is Killing Music‘ was the slogan of a 1980s anti-copyright infringement campaign by the British Phonographic Industry (BPI), a British music industry trade group. With the rise in cassette recorder popularity, the BPI feared that people being able to record music from the radio onto cassettes would cause a decline in record sales. The logo, consisting of a Jolly Roger formed from the silhouette of a Compact Cassette, also included the words ‘And It’s Illegal.’ Similar rhetoric has continued; in 1982 Jack Valenti famously compared the VCR and its anticipated effect on the movie industry to the Boston Strangler, and in 2005 Mitch Bainwol of the RIAA claimed that CD burning is hurting music sales.

The slogan was often parodied, one example being the addendum ‘and it’s about time too!,’ used by Dutch anarcho-punk band The Ex. Another example was the early 1980s counter-slogan ‘Home Taping is Skill in Music,’ referring to early mixtapes, a precursor to sampling and remixes. In 1981 the Dead Kennedys printed ‘Home taping is killing record industry profits! We left this side blank so you can help’ on one side of their EP ‘In God We Trust, Inc.’ An early ‘proponent’ of home taping was Malcolm McLaren who was at the time managing the British band Bow Wow Wow. In 1980 the band released their single ‘C30, C60, C90 Go’ on a cassette that featured a blank other side that the buyer could record their own music on. The band’s record label, EMI, dropped the group shortly afterwards because the single allegedly promoted home taping.

February 9, 2012

Don’t Copy That Floppy

dont copy that floppy

Don’t Copy That Floppy was an anti-copyright infringement campaign run by the Software Publishers Association (SPA) beginning in 1992.

The video for the campaign, starring M. E. Hart as ‘MC Double Def DP,’ was filmed at Cardozo High School in Washington, D.C. The commercial’s mention of  the game ‘Tetris’ is ironic given the original version was copied and smuggled out of the Soviet Union then commercialized without any legal rights or payment to its creators (or to the Soviet Union, which had the copyrights of what its scientist produced).

February 9, 2012



A squircle [skwer-kul] is a mathematical shape with properties between those of a square and those of a circle. It is a special case of superellipse. The word ‘squircle’ is a portmanteau of the words ‘square’ and ‘circle.’ A shape similar to a squircle, called a rounded square, may be generated by arranging four quarters of a circle and connecting their loose ends with straight lines. Although constructing a rounded square may be conceptually and physically simpler, the squircle has the simpler equation and can be generalized much more easily. One consequence of this is that the squircle and other superellipses can be scaled up or down quite easily. This is useful where, for example, one wishes to create nested squircles.

Squircles are useful in optics. If light is passed through a two-dimensional square aperture, the central spot in the diffraction pattern can be closely modeled by a squircle (also called a supercircle). If a rectangular aperture is used, the spot can be approximated by a superellipse. Squircles have also been used to construct dinner plates. A squircular plate has a larger area (and can thus hold more food) than a circular one with the same radius, but still occupies the same amount of space in a rectangular or square cupboard. The same is true of a square plate, but there are various problems (such as wiping up sauce) associated with the corners of square plates.

February 9, 2012


superegg by Piet Hein

In geometry, a superegg is a solid of revolution obtained by rotating an elongated super-ellipse with exponent greater than 2 around its longest axis. It is a special case of super-ellipsoid. Unlike an elongated ellipsoid, an elongated superegg can stand upright on a flat surface, or on top of another superegg.

This is due to its curvature being zero at the tips. The shape was popularized by Danish poet and scientist Piet Hein (1905–1996). Supereggs of various materials were sold as novelties or ‘executive toys’ in the 1960s. A 1-ton superegg made of steel and aluminum was placed outside Kelvin Hall in Glasgow in 1971, on occasion of a lecture by Piet Hein.

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February 9, 2012

Egg of Columbus

Uovo di Colombo

An egg of Columbus refers to a brilliant idea or discovery that seems simple or easy after the fact. The expression refers to a popular story of how Christopher Columbus, having been told that discovering the Americas was no great accomplishment, challenged his critics to make an egg stand on its tip.

After his challengers gave up, Columbus did it himself by tapping the egg on the table so as to flatten its tip. The story is often alluded to when discussing creativity.

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February 9, 2012

Salting the Earth

salting the earth by slug signorino

Salting the earth, or sowing with salt, is the ritual of spreading salt on conquered cities to symbolize a curse on their re-inhabitation. It originated as a practice in the ancient Near East and became a well-established folkloric motif in the Middle Ages. The custom of purifying or consecrating a destroyed city with salt and cursing anyone who dared to rebuild it was widespread in the ancient Near East, but historical accounts are unclear as to what the sowing of salt meant in that process. Various Hittite and Assyrian texts speak of ceremonially strewing salt, minerals, or plants over destroyed cities.

The Book of Judges says that Abimelech, the judge of the Israelites, sowed his own capital, Shechem, with salt, ca. 1050 BCE, after quelling a revolt against him. Starting in the 19th century, various texts claim that the Roman general Scipio Africanus plowed over and sowed the city of Carthage with salt after defeating it in the Third Punic War (146 BCE), sacking it, and forcing the survivors into slavery. However, no ancient sources exist documenting this. The Carthage story is a later invention, probably modelled on the story of Shechem (a city now residing in Israel’s West Bank).