Serenity Now: The Web as a Sanctuary for Storytellers
Jonathan Harris makes projects that reimagine how humans relate to technology and to each other.
Combining elements of computer science, anthropology, visual art and storytelling, his projects range from building the world’s largest time capsule (with Yahoo!) to documenting an Alaskan Eskimo whale hunt on the Arctic Ocean (with a warm hat).
He is the co-creator of We Feel Fine, which continuously measures the emotional temperature of the human world through large-scale blog analysis, and has made other projects about online dating, modern mythology, happiness, anonymity,news, and language. His latest project is Cowbird, a community of storytellers working to build a public library of human experience.
Jonathan studied photography (with Emmet Gowin) and computer science (with Brian Kernighan) at Princeton University, and went on to win a 2005 Fabrica fellowship and three Webby Awards. His work has also been recognized by AIGA, Ars Electronica, the state of Vermont (for which he co-designed the state quarter), Print Magazine (which named him a 2008New Visual Artist) and The World Economic Forum (which named him a 2009 Young Global Leader).
His work has been exhibited widely at MoMA (New York), Le Centre Pompidou (Paris), The Victoria & Albert Museum (London), The CAFA Art Museum (Beijing), the Garage Center for Contemporary Art (Moscow), and The Pace Gallery (New York), and has been featured on CNN, NPR, BBC, and Bhutanese television.
He has lectured all over the world, including at the TED Conference, Google, Princeton and Stanford Universities, and at least two hippy forest gatherings.
Starting on his 30th birthday, he documented his life for 440 days with one photo and short story a day.
When I was building Cowbird, I was trying to create a kind of sanctuary for storytellers on the Internet. A lot of the Internet, in recent years, has become like a shopping mall or like a superhighway that you experience at 90 miles an hour with billboards flashing by you and most Web sites have hundreds of links and banner ads and videos flashing at you and things advertising how many times a given article has been tweeted or liked or shared. And it’s just sort of this frantic, schizophrenic experience. I was much more interested in creating a space that felt like a church or a forest or a park or something very quiet and sacred and contemplative that would really honor stories and honor storytellers and give those things a very respectful home.
So I was trying to build a kind of sanctuary for storytellers and there was a whole slew of different design choices made to try and encourage that, things like only showing one thing at a time, like a full-screen image, which you completely absorb while listening to the author speaking over it. And, when you're finished with that, you can move down and you can start to see metadata that connects that story to other things in the ecosystem. So there's really this combination of having the sort of two-inch view very close to something beautiful and then, once that's been deeply felt, stepping back and zooming up to 10,000 feet and starting to see where that individual moment fits into a broader context, both statistically and also just experientially. So allowing for both of those modes of exploration was really important.
Entrepreneur and author Andrew Horn shares his rules for becoming an assured conversationalist.
- To avoid basing action on external validation, you need to find your "authentic voice" and use it.
- Finding your voice requires asking the right questions of yourself.
- There are 3-5 questions that you would generally want to ask people you are talking to.
Sarco assisted suicide pods come in three different styles, and allow you to die quickly and painlessly. They're even quite beautiful to look at.
Death: it happens to everyone (except, apparently, Keanu Reeves). But while the impoverished and lower-class people of the world die in the same ol' ways—cancer, heart disease, and so forth—the upper classes can choose hip and cool new ways to die. Now, there's an assisted-suicide pod so chic and so stylin' that peeps (young people still say peeps, right?) are calling it the "Tesla" of death... it's called... the Sarco!
Swiss researchers identify new dangers of modern cocaine.
- Cocaine cut with anti-worming adulterant levamisole may cause brain damage.
- Levamisole can thin out the prefrontal cortex and affect cognitive skills.
- Government health programs should encourage testing of cocaine for purity.
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