Ground Zero

A Google Maps mash-up by Sydney-based design firm CarlosLabs looks at what nuclear explosions would do to cities all over the world. via bldgblog

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TIM LUKE AND BENJAMIN BRATTON: The Terrors of Design

New Sciences of Protection Conference: Plenary 3 with Tim Luke (Design as Defence) and Benjamin Bratton (Dissimulation and Terrorism)

Tim Luke and Benjamin Bratton discussed the architecture of safe living in both its actual and virtual dimensions. ‘Architecture’ is concerned with both the concrete material structuring of a space, but also with the projection of form, with a particular social-political-technical imaginary. ‘Architects,’ Benjamin Bratton reminded us, are concerned with both actual and possible cities. Discussing the architecture of designs for safe living thus involves a double-referent: to the actual architecture of the design and to the promise of safe living which is always to-come.

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SpotShotter: New Technology Could Help Detect Gunfire

The SpotShotter tool is a gunfire detector gadget. Its wireless sensors pick up the sound of gunshots and differentiate sfrom other loud noises, such as fireworks. When a gun goes off, a sound wave registers on the device, which sends a message within seconds to the police dispatch computers. It can detect gunfire as close as 10 feet away in a two-mile range.

The SpotShotter provides law enforcement officials with an interesting means of forensic evaluation. By affixing acoustic sensors to trees, telephone poles, and other towering structures, the SpotShotter monitors the auditory signature of gunshots. When a shot is fired and detected, the SpotShotter calculates the position from which it was fired, based on acoustic information received by the sensors, then sends the data (via phone lines) to a central server, which law enforcement agents can access for their investigation.

A similar device used in the military is the “Boomerang” microphone, which is mounted to an army vehicle (HMMWV), and is an acoustic system designed to detect the range and elevation of incoming small arms fire. The “Boomerang” system is being developed by the Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory in Quantico, VA and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). Photo courtesy Marine Corps Warfighting Lab via Office of Naval Research

Read more about crimebusting at Law Enforcement News

via Bruce Schneier blog (thanks James King)

Workshop 5: CASA SEGURA by Robert Ransick

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Robert Ransick (Media Artist and Professor of Digital Arts, Bennington College)
Casa Segura / Safe House

Robert’s project highlights various issues dealing with immigration, border control, those who cross the US/Mexico border and those who live near the border. His work  can be seen on his casasegura blog and is currently exhibited at the LAND WARS exhibition at the Te Tuhi centre for the arts in Southern Auckland.

Cross disciplinary practices are his interest: he is an artist and designer and currently the Professor of Digital Arts at Bennington College,Vermont USA . He visits various design classes and positions his work in visual and fine art context. Borrows from strategies of design. Gets students to read social science documentation. He is very sensitive to the ideas that Dunne + Raby address in their work.

Addressing Fear Neuroscience institute visit, spent time to meet neuroscientists. Trying to match up with their disciplines. Learnt about the amygdala. Part of the brain that dictates fear and response. Preconscious. Amygdala remembers the pain from when you get a bee sting, next time you see a bee you fear the bee and the heart rate goes up, adrenalin, you flee. Fear is a terrific motivator and controller.Government encourages this fear to allow emails to be read, pursue surveillance policies etc. Politics of fear: powerful in relation to how our brain works. The subject of Immigration is now mixed with and correlates to Osama bin Laden to immigrants crossing the border and the fear of another catastrophic disaster. The US and Mexicio border in the South West runs along California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas. Interested in the illegal immigrants, crossing the border, the property owners and the larger populous and how we learn about migrants and border control. Robert concentrates on how we try to help the populous to think about these things.

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Workshop 4: Protocols, Procedures & Institutions

Read more about the Protocols, Procedures and Institutions workshop here>

Tower Hamlets Unregulated Zone
The Tower Hamlets Unregulated Zone

CONFIDENTIAL MEMO
A CONFIDENTIAL MEMO discussing the IF-POLITICS membership and duties of the Lancaster University Expert Assessors of Tower Hamlets Unregulated Zone from the UK Government Regulation Office, Division 3496723. Source: ANON

Safe Driving?

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Taking its lead from recent high-profile experiments in the Netherlands and Germany , the Kensington and Chelsea council wants to begin removing traffic lights from Exhibition Road. It is part of an audacious campaign by the council to forge modern ‘shared streetscapes’ where eye contact between motorists and pedestrians and simple common sense replace a ‘clutter’ of bollards and barriers, traffic lights, street signs and speed cameras.

via The Observer

Buried But Not Forgotten?: The Secret of Yucca Mountain

Yucca Mountain repository diagram Nuclear waste markers Landscape of Thorns Blue Yucca plant nuclear waste markers

Brian P. Bloomfield & Theo Vurdubakis – Department of Organisation, Work and Technology, Lancaster University

ABSTRACT: Yucca Mountain in Nye County, Nevada (USA), is the site of a very ambitious project to construct an underground repository for high-level nuclear waste. The object of scientific research and planning for over 20 years, and still facing significant political and legal challenges, the project aims to transport thousands of tons of radioactive waste from sites across the USA for storage at Yucca Mountain where it is meant to be kept safe for some10,000 years. Examination of the project highlights the relationships between social boundaries (proximity), language, and risk, geology and technoscience, in which the effort to realise safety materially (through the repository, and its situation within the local geology and geography) is complemented by efforts to communicate the dangers held within the mountain to the unknown (and unknowable) peoples of the distant future.

LINKS:

US department of Energy: Civilian Radioactive Waste Management

Yucca Mountian homepage

Peter Schwartz (founder of Global Business Network & wrote The Art of the Long View: see my FOSK blog entry) writes about the future of Yucca Mountain on The Long Now Foundation blog