I like architecture and urban planning, so you can see why I am intrigued by this lecture delivered from Gresham College (who has been all about talks open to the public since 1597 [!]) by Proffesor Thurley. This is totally one of those things you can put on and then walk away from, since there are only a few slides, and mostly a bunch of talking.
It traces the history of worker housing in Victorian Britain that sprung from the industrial revolution, but you will notice there are quite a few U.S. parallels, especially their take on light wells in the slums–the deleterious absence of which (amongst a gigantic amount of other basic things) was so famously documented in New York City by Jacob Riis in How the Other Half Lives (free and clickable, btw, through the Bartelby Project).
Here’s a video slideshow of some of Riis’ photos from New York City tenements (yeah, could not quickly find an online gallery with clickable thumbnails for those of us from the ADD generation *shrug*).
The second half–the “Splendor” bit– is about how London’s Italianesque architecture is a visual callback to the Renaissance Medici family, who so famously were both merchants and art patrons and basically shaped the architecture of Italy in doing so. Interestingly, London’s first futures markets rallied in pubs, which were razed to make way for London’s monuments to capitalistic wealth games and its financial center-ness.
Chicago’s coolest hackerspace, Pumping Station:One is having a 4-year birthday party / open house thingie on Saturday.
In case you’re not familiar, hackerspaces are, well–pretty self explanatory. You sign up for a membership, like a gym, and then you get to play with all the neat toys–oscilloscopes, 3D printers, drill presses, sewing machines, and a scanning electron microscope (duh!). It’s $40-$70 per month for a membership, for all that access to awesome future-creation. Also, they really do have a Tardis on the roof, just like that photo up there shows–not shopped.
On June 4th, 2011 is the 4th Annual Experimental Garage Sale! This craft fair focuses on circuit bending and DIY musical instruments at the Experimental Sound Studio space with 12 sellers who will have plenty circuit bent devices, un-bent toys, electronic parts, kits, experimental instruments, contact microphones, guitar pedals, art, and more. The sale will begin rain or shine at 12:00 PM and last until 6:00 PM.
Here’s a demo of the kind of sounds you can make with this little hackable blippy instrument: Meeblip bassline demo by cdm
Oscillator A & B slightly detuned, square wave on A and sawtooth on B. FM turned all the way up, distortion on. The filter resonance turned way up (hence the chirpy squeal) and the filter cutoff knob is initially open, then twiddled a bit to help the filter chirp. At the end, I just slowly turn the cutoff down. the VCF envelope modulation is mapped to MIDI velocity, which adds some sonic movement.