My kind of wearable tech

As part of Cadbury’s “Joyville” campaign, UK based creative technology firm, Hirsch & Mann, was approached by PR company Golin Harris to develop a set of interactive jackets that respond and change as a user eats one of two Cadbury chocolate bars.

Powered by embedded Raspberry Pi and Arduino controllers, the two jackets also pack Bespoke DMX LED system and tape, a bespoke Arduino shield, CMU Cam and Raspberry Pi Camera, CO2 Inflators, CNC embroidering and a 4.0 amp hour 18 V battery pack.

When the wearer’s hands are raised to their mouth, flex sensors in the arms trigger the inbuilt cameras that detect whether they are holding a Cadbury + Daim bar or a Cadbury + Oreo dairy bar. Once one of these chocolate bars has been detected, LED lights sewn around the heart area and in the cuffs start to flash.

To draw further attention to the individual’s chocolate-induced joyous state, servos in the hem of the jacket lift the bottom of the jacket to reveal a purple lining fitted with pulsing heart shaped LEDs. Following the coat-lift, hidden micro-controllers activate motorized hinges in the shoulder tabs that open up accordion style and start flapping about.

And if pulsing cuffs and rising hems weren’t enough, an sunburst in Cadbury’s signature purple, inflates from underneath the collar to frame the wearer’s head. During this entire show, speakers hidden in the jacket play music synced to the transformation. Upon reaching a crescendo point, a hidden confetti gun in the now flared out, inflatable hood is triggered, shooting confetti everywhere.

Now, I wonder if I can convince TRADER JOE’S to produce a version of this for customers like me. I buy a stash of their 72% Cacao Dark Chocolate to get me through the week – every week.

I wouldn’t mind wearing a happy dark chocolate Trader Joe’s Joy Jacket whilst munching in the living room of an evening. They can leave off the confetti gun.

Independent commission to investigate future of internet freedom

A major independent commission headed by the Swedish foreign minister, Carl Bildt, was launched on Wednesday to investigate the future of the internet in the wake of the Edward Snowden revelations.

The two-year inquiry, announced at the World Economic Forum at Davos, will be wide-ranging but focus primarily on state censorship of the internet as well as the issues of privacy and surveillance raised by the Snowden leaks about America’s NSA and Britain’s GCHQ spy agencies…

Bildt, the former Swedish prime minister, said: “The rapid evolution of the net has been made possible by the open and flexible model by which it has evolved and been governed. But increasingly this is coming under attack.

“And this is happening as issues of net freedom, net security and net surveillance are increasingly debated. Net freedom is as fundamental as freedom of information and freedom of speech in our societies.”

The Obama administration on Friday announced the initial findings of a White House-organised review of the NSA. There are also inquiries by the US Congress and by the European parliament, but this is the first major independent one.

The nicest thing said about Obama’s recommendations is that they have the strength of weak tea. My characterization would be more scatalogical.

Robin Niblett, director of Chatham House, said: “The issue of internet governance is set to become one of the most pressing global policy issues of our time…”

Gordon Smith, who is to be deputy chair of the commission, said: “For many people, internet governance sounds technical and esoteric but the reality is that the issues are ‘high politics’ and of consequence to all users of the internet, present and future.”

Many of America’s geek pundits feel the United States owns the Internet and every other nation should simply follow whatever our government says should be the rules. Obedience is required by the Internet Overlords.

The battle comes up every few years, The next round will not only involve the question of global democracy; but, individual privacy and security will have to be part of the discussion.

No relief for Earth’s warming trend in 2013

The average temperature of Earth maintained its warming trend in 2013, despite seasonal and regional variations that included a shrinking ice cap in the Arctic and a massively growing one in the southern hemisphere, U.S. scientists said on Tuesday.

NASA said the planet’s average temperature in 2013 was 58.3 degrees Fahrenheit – 14.6 degrees Celsius – tying 2006 and 2009 for the seventh warmest year since 1880 when global climate record-keeping began.

Using the same data but different analysis processes, the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said 2013’s average temperature was 58.12 degrees Fahrenheit, which tied what NOAA considers to be the fourth hottest year on record.

The agencies differ in their analysis techniques. NASA for example uses more temperatures from Antarctica, but said the overall trend remains what has been measured every year since 1976 when global temperatures first surpassed the 20th Century’s global average of 57 degrees Fahrenheit – 13.9 degrees Celsius…

Global temperatures began climbing in the late 1960s, a phenomena that has been tied to heat-trapping greenhouse gases in Earth’s atmosphere.

NASA…said the amount of carbon dioxide in Earth’s atmosphere is higher now than at other time in the last 800,000 years.

Carbon dioxide levels were about 285 parts per million in 1880, the first year in the global temperature record. By 1960, levels reached 315 parts per million. In 2013, the amount of carbon dioxide peaked at more than 400 parts per million.

The long term trends in climate are extremely robust,” Gavin Schmidt said. “There are times, such as today, when we can have snow, even in a globally warmed world [winter ain’t dead – yet]. But the long-term trends are very clear. They are not going to disappear. It isn’t an error in our calculations.”

The question of climate change is one of those boundary layers separating ignorant from stupid. Climate is long-term phenomena. Meteorology is about weather, localized and regional phenomena – even when global forces are causative.

Given that most climate change-deniers barely understand the United States comprises only 6% of the Earth’s surface – and their interpretation of “climate” is characterized by the nearest FOX “news” broadcast – the operative word tends to remain “Stupid”.