MindMap WebApp: Bubbl.us

From LifeHack's 11 Top New Web Apps of 2007:


bubbl.us: Flash-based mindmap creator bubbl.us allows you to quickly and easily make effective, attractive mindmaps that can be exported as images or as HTML outlines, or shared with others who can add new items or draw new connections between existing ones. Sometimes clunky if your connection is slow or if the mindmaps get too large. But a fantastic Flash-enabled tool!

Getting the Whole Spimey Backstory

As sensor technology becomes cheaper to deploy, and the metadata embedded therein and broadcast therefrom becomes richer and more detailed, we approach a time in which every tennis shoe and ham sandwich has its own backstory.

We can know whether the pig in the sandwich had a happy life, or, more important, if it was exposed to harmful bacteria or unethical farming practices.

In his book Shaping Things, Bruce Sterling makes much of the emerging product form tagged with his self-created neologism... spime.

These are "material instantiations of an immaterial system, digitally manufactured things from virtual plans." In layman's terms, these are objects that can be manufactured, tracked, interacted with and recycled through digital systems embedded in the object and the environment. Now, knowing a product's backstory is emerging as a core principle of commerce.

[Listen to Sterling's discription of spime here. Or watch the oddly unnerving interview segment, SpimeTime on Rocketboom.com.]
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Principle 1: The Backstory

As the public gains interest and personal investment in living more sustainably, knowing the backstory becomes increasingly important. Whether it's food, lifestyle products, building materials -- most everything in the designed or built environment -- a big part of making good choices involves knowing where things come from, what's inside them, and how they got to point of use. If we know the backstory as consumers, we can make good choices; and if businesses and designers know they'll have to tell the story of their product, they make sure it's a story someone would want to hear.

paraSITE: Inflatable Shelters for Urban Bedoins


This piece about installation artist/activist Michael Rakowitz is amazing. It serves as a case study in problem solving (shelter for the homeless); product design (portable inflatable dwellings); and systems thinking (waste energy from HVAC units recycled as life-giving heat and humidity for the homel

From Worldchanging blogger, Sara Rich:

paraSITE is an exploration of temporary urban living spaces, with an historic point of inspiration, and a more utilitarian/humanitarian purpose.


Michael Rakowitz traveled to Jordan in the mid-90s on a study program where he focused in part on the nomadic tradition of the Bedouins, and the architecture of their tents. When he returned to Boston, where he was a student at MIT, the presence of the homeless population in the city triggered a quandary for him regarding the contrast of a nomadic lifestyle by tradition versus by necessity. The nomadic patterns of the urban homeless, particularly in the cold months, were dictated by the location of heating vents releasing exhaust from HVAC systems inside houses and buildings. Many of these systems had been designed like boxes, such that a person could sleep on top of the vent and stay warm; but viewing this as a problem, the city had begun installing vertical vents which slanted downward off the building, making it impossible to rest on them.