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History of April Fools Day – Video Blog


Video Produced By: Jeremiah Warren

April Fools’ Day is celebrated in many countries on April 1 every year. Sometimes referred to as All Fools’ Day, April 1 is not a national holiday, but is widely recognized and celebrated as a day when people play practical jokes and hoaxes on each other.
20130401-113417.jpgIn Italy, France and Belgium, children and adults traditionally tack paper fishes on each other’s back as a trick and shout “April fish!” in their local languages (pesce d’aprile!, poisson d’avril! and aprilvis! in Italian, French and Flemish, respectively). Such fish feature prominently on many French late 19th to early 20th century April Fools’ Day postcards.The earliest recorded association between April 1 and foolishness is an ambiguous reference in Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales (1392). Many writers suggest that the restoration of January 1 by Pope Gregory XIII as New Year’s Day of the Gregorian Calendar in the 16th century was responsible for the creation of the holiday, sometimes questioned for earlier references.

Origins

Precursors of April Fools’ Day include the Roman festival of Hilaria, held March 25, and the Medieval Feast of Fools, held December 28, still a day on which pranks are played in Spanish-speaking countries.
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In Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales (1392), the “Nun’s Priest’s Tale” is set Syn March bigan thritty dayes and two. Modern scholars believe that there is a copying error in the extant manuscripts and that Chaucer actually wrote, Syn March was gon.[5] Thus, the passage originally meant 32 days after April, i.e. May 2, the anniversary of the engagement of King Richard II of England to Anne of Bohemia, which took place in 1381. Readers apparently misunderstood this line to mean “March 32”, i.e. April 1. In Chaucer’s tale, the vain cock Chauntecleer is tricked by a fox.

In 1508, French poet Eloy d’Amerval referred to a poisson d’avril (April fool, literally “April fish”), a possible reference to the holiday. In 1539, Flemish poet Eduard de Dene wrote of a nobleman who sent his servants on foolish errands on April 1. In 1686, John Aubrey referred to the holiday as “Fooles holy day”, the first British reference. On April 1, 1698, several people were tricked into going to the Tower of London to “see the Lions washed”.

In the Middle Ages, up until the late 18th century, New Year’s Day was celebrated on March 25 (Feast of the Annunciation) in most European towns. In some areas of France, New Year’s was a week-long holiday ending on April 1. Many writers suggest that April Fools originated because those who celebrated on January 1 made fun of those who celebrated on other dates. The use of January 1 as New Year’s Day was common in France by the mid-16th century,[6] and this date was adopted officially in 1564 by the Edict of Roussillon.

A study in the 1950s, by folklorists Iona and Peter Opie, found that in the UK and those countries whose traditions derived from there, the joking ceased at midday. But this practice appears to have lapsed in more recent years.

Source: Wikipedia
Compiled By: Josh Martin

 

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MIT’s new display lets you raech through your somputer screen – Video Blog

MIT has demonstrated a “Dynamic Shape Display” that can physically change shape to render 3D content. As Fast Company reports, the display is called inFORM, and it’s a large surface that sits atop a series of pins, actuators, and linkages. By moving each actuator, inFORM can move the pin it’s attached to up or down, allowing for a wide range of interactions.

A projector mounted above the surface provides context to the shapeshifting pins, giving them color and highlighting depth. In a video released by MIT, the table is shown moving a ball, mirroring a book, displaying 3D charts, and giving an extremely visible smartphone notification.

When used in conjunction with a Kinect sensor, inFORM gets a lot more interesting. The sensor is able to accurately map and interpret the position of 3D objects, and MIT’s system uses that data to allow you to move the table’s pins with just your hands. This can even work remotely, as demonstrated by the video, which shows an MIT staffer interacting with items via a video conference.

It’s also very interested in mapping and terrain models, which could be used by urban planners and architects to better visualize and share 3D designs. The MIT Tangible Media Group, which is responsible for inFORM’s creation, says it’s currently collaborating with MIT’s Changing Places group to explore the possibilities for urban planners.

It’s extremely impressive stuff, but it’s just one step on a long path to what MIT calls Radical Atoms. First conceptualized over a decade ago, Radical Atoms are what MIT believes will be the future of interactivity. The idea is that we presently interact with computers through graphical user interfaces (GUI), while inFORM and other projects like it offer up a tactile user interface (TUI).

MIT likens TUIs to a digital iceberg: just the tip of the digital content emerges “above water” into the physical realm. Moving past TUIs, the end game is Radical Atoms, a future in which “all digital information has physical manifestation … as if the iceberg had risen from the depths to reveal its sunken mass.”

A Word From Tangible Media Group and M.I.T.

We are currently exploring a number of application domains for the inFORM shape display. One area we are working on is Geospatial data,
such as maps, GIS, terrain models and architectural models. Urban planners and Architects can view 3D designs physically and better
understand, share and discuss their designs. We are collaborating with the urban planners in the Changing Places group at MIT on this
(http://cp.media.mit.edu/). In addition, inFORM would allow 3D Modelers and Designers to prototype their 3D designs physically without 3D
printing (at a low resolution). Finally, cross sections through Volumetric Data such as medical imaging CT scans can be viewed in 3D
physically and interacted with. We would like to explore medical or surgical simulations. We are also very intrigued by the possibilities of
remotely manipulating objects on the table.

Past research on
shape displays has primarily focused on rendering content and user interface elements through shape output, with less emphasis on
dynamically changing UIs. We propose utilizing shape displays in three different ways to mediate interaction: to facilitate by providing
dynamic physical affordances through shape change, to restrict by guiding users with dynamic physical constraints, and to manipulate by
actuating physical objects. We explore potential interaction techniques and introduce Dynamic Physical Affordances and Constraints with our
inFORM system, built on top of a state-of-the-art shape display, which provides for variable stiffness rendering and real-time user input
through direct touch and tangible interaction. A set of example applications demonstrates how dynamic affordances, constraints and
object actuation can create novel interaction possibilities.

, our devices have been designed to simulate affordances–the quality which allows an object to perform a function, such as a handle, a dial or a wheel–but not actually have
them. Follmer says that’s not the way it’s supposed to be. “As humans,
we have evolved to interact physically with our environments, but in the
21st century, we’re missing out on all of this tactile sensation that
is meant to guide us, limit us, and make us feel more connected,” he
says. “In the transition to purely digital interfaces, something
profound has been lost.”

The solution is programmable matter, and the inFORM is one possible
interpretation of an interface that can transform itself to physically
be whatever it needs to be. It’s an interesting (and literal) analogue
to skeuomorphism: while in the touch-screen age we have started rejecting interfaces that ape the look of
real world affordances as “tacky” in favor of more pure digital UIs,
the guys at the Tangible Media Group believe that interface of the
future won’t be skeuomorphic. They’ll be supermorphic, growing the affordances they need on the fly.

Although the inFORM is primarily a sandbox for MIT to experiment with the tactile interfaces to come, it would be wrong to dismiss this project as mere spitballing. “We like to think of ourselves as imagining the futures, plural,” Follmer says. “The inFORM is a look at one of them.” But while the actual consumer implementation may very well differ, but both Follmer and Leithinger agree that tangible interfaces are coming. “Ten years ago, we had people at Media Lab working on gestural interactions, and now they’re everywhere, from the Microsoft Kinect to the Nintendo Wiimote,” says Follmer. “Whatever it ends up looking like, the UI of the future won’t be made of just pixels, but time and form as well. And that future is only five or ten years away. It’s time for designers to start thinking about what that means now.”

Compiled By: Josh Martin

Sources:

TheVerge.com

Tangible Media Group
Fast Company

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Posted by on November 16, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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All About Louis Ortiz, the “Bronx Obama” – Video Blog (The Audacity of Louis Ortiz)


What if one day you looked in the mirror and saw the most powerful man in the world staring back at you? In this Op-Doc video, we meet Louis Ortiz, an unemployed Puerto Rican man from the Bronx, whose life turned upside down when he discovered his uncanny resemblance to President Obama.

tempThe first time I talked to Mr. Ortiz on the phone he said, “I’m so glad you called. I’ve been living in the Twilight Zone for the past three years.” That was the spring of 2011. In the week between that call and when we met in person, Osama bin Laden was killed. When I went to the Bronx to meet Mr. Ortiz, people were high-fiving and congratulating him. I knew instantly I had to drop everything else and follow him around.

Mr. Ortiz is a walking, talking image of Barack Obama. When people encounter him, they see the version of Mr. Obama they want to see. And when Mr. Ortiz looks in the mirror, so does he.

Ryan Murdock is a filmmaker who has produced for PBS’s show “Nova” and recorded more than 300 oral histories for NPR’s StoryCorps. This video is adapted from his forthcoming documentary “The Audacity of Louis Ortiz” and a recent episode of “This American Life.”

Source: New York Times

President Obama Impersonator Inspires Kickstarter ‘The Audacity of Louis Ortiz’ Project VIDEO)

While Democrats across the country are hoping for another White House victory in 2012, come November there will be one man from the Bronx hoping to see Obama keep his job even more, as his own livelihood directly depends on it.

Without a steady job and no health insurance to help with his multiple sclerosis, Louis Ortiz is “that guy” politicians are always promising to help find a better life.temp

But as filmmaker Ryan Murdock puts it, Ortiz also just happens to look like the most powerful person on the planet, President Obama, and since 2008 he’s been making the most of what he has to get the bills paid as a professional impersonator.

This American Life featured Oritz’s journey, which began with a young man floundering in mounting bills and playing in neighborhood pool tournaments to try and make ends meet. Then one day, friends pointed to a Daily News cover with Obama on the front, or as Ortiz describes a “dude with big ears” and suggested Ortiz capitalize on his uncanny resemblance to the presidential hopeful. After much contemplation, Ortiz shaved off his facial hair and coveted goatee and his extraordinary story took off.

As the one-time former field technician for Verizon who was struggling to find work, Ortiz told The New York Post, “Never in a million years could I imagine I could look like not just someone famous, but THE someone. It’s Obama. It’s history. The first African American president of the United States – and I’m a part of it.”

Murdock has been filming Ortiz’s story since May 2011 and has launched a Kickstarter campaign to help finance his film, “The Audacity Of Louis Oritz” to document Ortiz’s unique story of what it’s like to struggle in America, as he continues to parallel the real Obama’s battle for the White House in the crucial months ahead.

Watch for the striking resemblance below:

Source: Huffington Post
For a full transcript from this american life click here

 
 

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Consumer Survey: Kia Sorento and Sportage ‘Best Value’ – Video Blog

Video Produced By: Super Car Haul

Kia Motors America (KMA) is one of the fastest-growing car companies in the U.S., and its two popular crossover utility vehicles have acquired an impressive collection of awards and accolades from industry observers. This week, the brand’s two CUVs received a different type of recognition when Strategic Vision revealed that new car buyers identified the 2013 Sorento and 2013 Sportage as the number one ranked vehicles in Total Value in the Medium and Small SUV segments, respectively, in the research firm’s latest Total Value Index@ (TVI) study.

2015 kia sportageMore than 350 new vehicles were vetted and over 77,000 buyers who purchased models from September 2011 to June 2012 were surveyed to compile Strategic Vision’s 16th annual TVI study, which revealed that quality and innovation shaped buyers’ opinion of overall values. “The result shows that innovation is the strongest single predictor of which cars, brands and corporations are seen as the best value, or ‘Total Value’ in our study,” stated Alexander Edwards, president of Strategic Vision.

“Kia takes great pride in advancing value to new levels of sophistication, and Strategic Vision’s ‘Total Value’ recognition is gratifying because it is based on feedback from Sorento and Sportage customers,” said Michael Sprague, executive vice president, marketing & communications, KMA. “This honor speaks to Kia’s goal of producing cars that are not only affordable but also dynamic in terms of their design, performance and cutting-edge technology attributes.” The Sorento combines fun and functionality in a refined and value-minded CUV with impressive power. Kia’s longest running nameplate, the Sportage, offers design and performance in a compact CUV with modern amenities and a fun-to-drive personality.

Kia’s Unprecedented Growth

Kia Motors is one of the world’s fastest moving global automotive brands; from 2009-2011 Kia launched more new vehicles in the U.S. than any other automaker, and under the guidance of chief design officer Peter Schreyer earned a reputation as an industry leader in automotive styling. Kia Motors America’s full line of fun-to-drive cars and CUVs has earned critical acclaim and dramatically increased consumer awareness, perception and consideration for the brand. In 2011, KMA recorded its 17th consecutive year of market share growth, thanks in part to the largest increase of any major brand in perceived quality[2] and the industry’s highest brand loyalty ranking[3]. Kia’s U.S.-based manufacturing facility in West Point, Georgia – KMMG – is responsible for the creation of more than 10,000 plant and supplier jobs and builds two of the company’s best-selling vehicles in the U.S. – the Sorento CUV and Optima midsize sedan*. Kia’s value and technology-laden lineup also includes the Sportage compact CUV, Soul urban passenger vehicle, Optima Hybrid, Forte compact sedan, Forte 5-door compact hatchback, Forte Koup two-door coupe, Rio and Rio 5-door sub-compacts and Sedona minivan.

About the 2013 Sorento

The 2013 Sorento incorporates all of the comforts of Kia’s signature crossover utility vehicle with the functionality consumers have come to expect. Built at Kia Motors’ U.S. manufacturing plant in West Point, Georgia, the Sorento can be powered by any one of three capable engines including a robust 3.5-liter V6 engine with sportmatic shifting. The Sorento also offers optional All-Wheel Drive, third-row seven-passenger seating, Bluetooth@[4], SiriusXM radio[5], Infinity@[6] surround sound and Kia’s UVO powered by Microsoft@ voice- activated infotainment and communication system[7]. The refined and value-minded 2013 Sorento is offered at a starting MSRP of $23,150[8].

About the 2013 Sportage

The 2013 Kia Sportage offers value-, image- and safety-conscious consumers a striking design and a standout combination of fun-to-drive performance, the latest in-vehicle technologies, and an abundance of comfort, convenience and safety features all at a tremendous value. The sleek and modern Sportage is available with either a 2.4-liter, 176 horsepower engine or a 2.0-liter, 260 horsepower Turbo GDI engine. Inside the cabin, the Sportage offers a host of available technology features, including Kia’s all new UVO Powered by Microsoft@ hands-free, voice-activated infotainment system. The 2013 Sportage features a starting MSRP of $19,000[9].

About Kia Motors America

Kia Motors America is the marketing and distribution arm of Kia Motors Corporation based in Seoul, South Korea. KMA offers a complete line of vehicles through more than 755 dealers throughout the United States and serves as the “Official Automotive Partner” of the NBA and LPGA. In 2011, KMA recorded its best-ever annual sales total and became one of the fastest growing car companies in the U.S. [10] Kia is poised to continue its momentum and will continue to build the brand through design innovation, quality, value, advanced safety features and new technologies.

Information about Kia Motors America and its full vehicle line-up is available at its website – www.kia.com. For media information, including photography, visit www.kiamedia.com.

About Strategic Vision

Strategic Vision is a research-based consultancy with over thirty-five years of experience in understanding the consumers’ and constituents’ decision-making systems for a variety of Fortune 100 clients, including most automotive manufacturers. Its unique expertise is in identifying consumers’ comprehensive motivational hierarchies, including the product attributes, personal benefits, value/emotions and images that drive perceptions and behaviors.

[1] Based on 5-year cumulative growth between 12-month retail sales for periods ending October 2007 and October 2012 of all U.S.

automotive brands.

*The Sorento and Optima GDI (EX Trims and certain LX Trims only) and GDI Turbo are built in the United States from U.S. and globally

sourced parts.

[2] Source: Automotive Lease Guide Spring 2011 Perceived Quality Study.

[3] Source: Experian Automotive Q2 2011 market analysis.

[4]The Bluetooth@ word mark and logos are registered trademarks owned by Bluetooth SIG, Inc. and any use of such marks by Kia is under license. Other trademarks and tradenames are those of their respective owners. A compatible Bluetooth@ wireless technology enabled cell phone is required to use Bluetooth@ wireless technology.

[5]Sirius services require subscriptions, sold separately after 3-month trial included with vehicle purchase/lease. Subscriptions governed by SiriusXM Customer Agreement at siriusxm.com5/8 2011 SiriusXM Radio Inc. Sirius, XM and all related marks and logos are trademarks of SiriusXM Radio Inc.

[6] Infinity is a registered trademark of Harman International Industries, Incorporated.

[7] UVO is optional equipment and available with select packages. Microsoft is a registered trademark of Microsoft Corporation in the United States and/or other countries.

[8] MSRP for Sorento LX excludes $800 destination and handling fee, title, taxes, license, options and dealer charges. Actual prices set by dealer and may vary.

[9] Starting prices for Sportage bases are manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP), which excludes $800 destination and handling fee, title, taxes, license, options and dealer charges. Actual prices set by dealer and may vary.

[10] Based on 5-year cumulative growth between 12-month retail sales for periods ending October 2007 and October 2012 of all U.S. automotive brands.

SOURCE Kia Motors America

 
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Posted by on December 10, 2012 in Automotive, technology, Video Blog

 

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Holiday and Christmas Tree Fire Safety – Video Blog

Decorating homes and businesses is a long-standing tradition around the holiday season. Unfortunately, these same decorations may christmas tree safteyincrease your chances of fire. Based on data from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA), an estimated 240 home fires involving Christmas trees and another 150 home fires involving holiday lights and other decorative lighting occur each year. Together, these fires result in 21 deaths and $25.2 million in direct property damage.

Following a few simple fire safety tips can keep electric lights, candles, and the ever popular Christmas tree from creating a tragedy. Learn how to prevent a fire and what to do in case a fire starts in your home. Make sure all exits are accessible and not blocked by decorations or trees. Help ensure that you have a fire safe holiday season.

Christmas Trees

What’s a traditional Christmas morning scene without a beautifully decorated tree? If your household includes a natural tree in its festivities, take to heart the sales person’s suggestion – “Keep the tree watered.”

Christmas trees account for hundreds of fires annually. Typically, shorts in electrical lights or open flames from candles, lighters or matches start tree fires. Well-watered trees are not a problem. A dry and neglected tree can be.

Dry Tree vs. High Moisture Tree Fire

This dramatic clip illustrates what happens when fire touches a dry tree and a properly maintained, well-watered tree.

Selecting a Tree for the Holidays

Needles on fresh trees should be green and hard to pull back from the branches, and the needles should not break if the tree has been freshly cut. The trunk should be sticky to the touch. Old trees can be identified by bouncing the tree trunk on the ground. If many needles fall off, the tree has been cut too long and, has probably dried out, and is a fire hazard.

Caring for Your Tree

Do not place your tree close to a heat source, including a fireplace or heat vent. The heat will dry out the tree, causing it to be more easily ignited by heat, flame or sparks. Be careful not to drop or flick cigarette ashes near a tree. Do not put your live tree up too early or leave it up for longer than two weeks. Keep the tree stand filled with water at all times.

Disposing of Your Tree

Never put tree branches or needles in a fireplace or wood-burning stove. When the tree becomes dry, discard it promptly. The best way to dispose of your tree is by taking it to a recycling center or having it hauled away by a community pick-up service.

Source: F.E.M.A.

Perhapse You’ll Enjoy: The History of the Wrapping Paper / How to Wrap a Present

Compiled By: Josh Martin

 
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Posted by on December 7, 2012 in Holiday Articles, Video Blog

 

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One Text Or Call Could Wreck It All – Don’t text and drive


Video Produced By Mazda USA

To help address the issue and show first-hand the risks of texting while driving, AT&T is touring a state-of-the-art virtual reality simulator to demonstrate the dangers of texting while driving in 200+ locations by end of 2012.

We encourage you to share your stories with us, help spread the word about the risks in your communities with our tools and learn more about the laws in your area: www.iihs.org/laws/maptextingbans.aspx*

To pledge your commitment to stop texting while driving, go to itcanwait.com.

* This link is to an external website not operated by AT&T Inc. or any of its affiliated companies.  AT&T is not responsible for the accuracy of its contents.

Source: A.T.T.

Complied By: Josh Martin

 
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Posted by on November 28, 2012 in Parenting, technology, travel, Video Blog

 

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History of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade – Video Blog


Video Produced By: About.com

History

In the 1920s, many of Macy’s department store employees were first-generation immigrants. Proud of their new American heritage, they wanted to celebrate the United States parade of Thanksgiving with the type of festival their parents had loved in Europe.

Tom The Turkey From Macys Thanksgiving Day ParadeIn 1924, the parade (originally known as the Macy’s Christmas Parade and later the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Christmas Parade) was staged by the store. Employees and professional entertainers marched from 145th Street in Harlem to Macy’s flagship store on 34th Street dressed in vibrant costumes. There were floats, professional bands and live animals borrowed from the Central Park Zoo.At the end of that first parade, as has been the case with every parade since, Santa Clauswas welcomed into Herald Square. At this first parade, however, the Jolly Old Elf was enthroned on the Macy’s balcony at the 34th Street store entrance, where he was then “crowned” “King of the Kiddies.” With an audience of over a quarter of a million people,[citation needed] the parade was such a success that Macy’s declared it would become an annual event.

Anthony “Tony” Frederick Sarg loved to work with marionettes from an early age. After moving to London to start his own marionette business, Sarg moved to New York City to perform with his puppets on the street. Macy’s heard about Sarg’s talents and asked him to design a window display of a parade for the store. Sarg’s large animal-shaped balloons, produced by the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company in Akron, Ohio, replaced the live animals in 1927 when the Felix the Catballoon made its debut. Felix was filled with air, but by the next year, helium was used to fill the expanding cast of balloons.

At the finale of the 1928 parade, the balloons were released into the sky where they unexpectedly burst. The following year they were redesigned with safety valves to allow them to float for a few days. Address labels were sewn into them, so that whoever found and mailed back the discarded balloon received a gift from Macy’s

Through the 1930s, the Parade continued to grow, with crowds of over 1 million lining the parade route in 1933. The first Mickey Mouse balloon entered the parade in 1934. The annual festivities were broadcast on local New York radio from 1932 through 1941, and resumed in 1945 through 1951.

The parade was suspended 1942–1944 during World War II, owing to the need for rubber and helium in the war effort. The parade resumed in 1945 using the route that it followed until 2008. The parade became a permanent part of American culture after being prominently featured in the 1947 film, Miracle on 34th Street, which shows actual footage of the 1946 festivities. The event was first broadcast on network television in 1948 (see below). By this point the event, and Macy’s sponsorship of it, were sufficiently well-known to give rise to the colloquialism “Macy’s Day Parade”.

Since 1984, the balloons have been made by Raven Industries of Sioux Falls, SD.

Macy’s also sponsors the smaller Celebrate the Season Parade in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, held two days after the main event. Other cities in the US also have parades on Thanksgiving, but they are not run by Macy’s. The nation’s oldest Thanksgiving parade (the Gimbels parade, now known as 6abc-IKEA) was first held in Philadelphia in 1920. Other cities include the McDonald’s Thanksgiving Parade of Chicago, Illinois and parades in Plymouth, Massachusetts; Seattle, Washington; Houston, Texas; Detroit, Michigan; and Fountain Hills, Arizona. A parade is also held at the two U.S. Disney theme parks. There is even a 2nd Thanksgiving balloon parade within the New York metropolitan area, the UBS balloon parade in Stamford, CT, 30 miles away. This parade is held the Sunday before Thanksgiving to not compete with the New York parade and usually does not duplicate any balloon characters.

The classic “Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade” logo (seen on right) was, with one exception, last used in 2005. For 2006 a special variant of the logo was used. Every year since a new logo has been used for each parade. The Logos however are seen rarely, if at all, on television as NBC has used its own logo with the word “Macy’s” in script and “Thanksgiving Day Parade” in a bold font. The logos are assumed to be for Macy’s use only, such as on the Grandstand tickets and the ID badges worn by parade staff. The Jackets worn by parade staff still bear the original classic parade logo, this being the only place where that logo can be found.

New safety measures were incorporated in 2006 to prevent accidents and balloon related injuries. One measure taken was installation of wind measurement devices to alert parade organizers to any unsafe conditions that could cause the balloons to behave erratically. Also, parade officials implemented a measure to keep the balloons closer to the ground during windy conditions. If wind speeds are forecast to be higher than 34 miles per hour, all balloons are removed from the parade.

In 2007, the journal Puppetry International published a first person account of being a balloon handler

If you are planning to see the parade this year please visit NYCTourist.com tips on getting just the right spot.

Source: Wikipedia

Compiled By: Josh Martin

 
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Posted by on November 19, 2012 in History, Holiday Articles, travel, Video Blog

 

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