Just a geek who lives in Olympia, WA with my wife, son, and animals. In my free time I play board games, write fiction, and make stuff.
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How The SOPA Blackout Happened

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"[Historical knowledge] gives understanding of how the present world came to be, and maybe more importantly, an appreciation that everything that is, never necessarily had to be" -from "History as Freedom" —Joe Costello, longtime political organizer, writer

On the 10th anniversary of the groundbreaking SOPA Blackout, a question seems to surface above all else: can any one of us really go on to change history? And how, exactly, does that happen?

For the 24 million people who participated in the largest online protest in history against the Stop Online Piracy Act, and the millions more who witnessed the protest in real time, the course of history was changed. Had it succeeded, SOPA would have given anyone the power to shut down entire websites over a claim of copyright infringement without recourse or the obligation to demonstrate any trespass at all.

The SOPA Blackout not only killed the bill in 2012, but shook Congress so profoundly that no significant copyright legislation has been introduced in the ten years since. Because the Blackout achieved so much progress against the political order in a matter of weeks, this moment in history rewrote what we collectively think is possible in the political realm; in particular among the political set, even though triumphs of this proportion remain elusive, and power is even more entrenched.

“Many people prefer glory to power, but on the whole these people have less effect upon the course of events than those who prefer power to glory..” —Bertrand Russell

Much of the disaffection with politics comes from the sense that it never seems to change. We feel on a gut level that what passes or doesn't pass is actually debuted by the spreadsheets of lobbying firms along K street, the number of saved cell phone numbers and email addresses in legislators' contacts, the social network of influence that is woven through corporate and political America, and the skyrocketing graph of expected or donated campaign dollars. 

Generally, power's alignments don’t get upset. And, that was almost the case with SOPA. With this bill, Hollywood was on the verge of achieving their holy grail of legislation. It was the most expensive lobbying campaign Hollywood had ever launched; they gained 100 cosponsors from both sides of the aisle and backing from a slew of companies. A swift road to passage with no organized opposition seemed guaranteed. Instead, the SOPA Blackout was the first time in recent US political history that the expected political order was turned upside down so swiftly.

"It often happens at critical moments in history that ideas which have long held the field almost unchallenged are suddenly discovered, not to be wrong, but to be useless; then almost everyone can see they are absurd." —“Western Society and the Church in the Middle Ages,” R. W. Southern

How did a bill of this magnitude, that was largely unknown to the public and had no organized opposition, suddenly fall apart? 

Yes, SOPA overreached against the will of the people to an absurd degree, but most bills of this nature still pass. Upsets against the political status quo generally depend on a highly complex set of factors and usually take years of organizing, but our SOPA protest had neither of those. 

Our work was different because this time, the Internet made it possible for a few people to play an outsized role in quickly catalyzing disparate voices into a large opposition, ripping the ceiling off of what was possible. The game plan—to be super clear about a riotously unjust bill that would censor the Internet, and provide the means for thousands of people to get to Congress’ inboxes with one click—allowed far-flung groups and individuals to target SOPA's passage on a mass scale. 

Harvard's SOPA-PIPA data study tracks the uniqueness of this bubbling up, and should be read to get some empirical grounding for the personal narrative I'm providing.

One piece of our strategy was probably the super spreader mechanism: we changed the form of protest itself. The act of protesting went from the great work of petitions and articles by sites like Techdirt to the use of websites as the protest themselves. My cofounder Holmes and I, on the phone during a freak snowstorm on Halloween, simultaneously suggested that the most effective protest would be if sites actually shut down—the way they could be forced to shut down if SOPA did pass. So, we built a widget that anyone could use to “shut down” their site, with an explanation about the bill and a form for people to contact Congress to oppose SOPA. 

Soon, brave early adopters would join the protest and/or use the tool––Mozilla, BoingBoing, Techdirt and tens of thousands of others would follow. Working with Demand Progress, EFF, Elizabeth Stark, and others, we received a growing roster of signups and were able to tag-team to get to Tumblr––one of the largest platforms with 40 million blogs. 

Everyone remembers January 18th’s SOPA Blackout, but the snowball started on our first day of action, November 16th, 2011. Thanks to the creative work by Tumblr staff, tens of thousands of sites helped blindside Congress with millions of emails and close to 100,000 calls to Congress.. This was the first time an online protest of this scale sprang out of nowhere. 

This day in November seeded a death by a thousand cuts: Redditors, YouTubers, and the then astute 4chaners were ablaze with ideas, like boycotting the domain registrar GoDaddy for being, weirdly, a SOPA supporter. With hundreds of thousands more people mobilized against SOPA, our coalition decided to call for a full shutdown of the Internet. I spent weeks building consensus with the community behind Wikipedia, one of the ten largest sites on the web, so that they could do something that was absolutely unheard of.

So, on January 18th, Internet users rose up, and the Internet shut down for a day. People couldn’t access at least 115,000 websites, including the biggest ones, Wikipedia, Craigslist, and WordPress (which powers 40 percent of the web). Because millions of people were contacting congressional inboxes, they too were completely shut down. Lobbyists and legislators weren't allowed to think about anything else. The very next day, Congress did an about face on SOPA and shelved it. Because we were the news on that day, we defined political reality.

Often the way change gets reported on is that it all of sudden happens or it was inevitable. But, to have big moments, you first need to develop a critical mass around the existing milieu to build the movement that most people see. We were uniquely positioned to build a coalition invested in defending the Internet because the Internet itself gave us the tools to unify vast numbers of people, ideas, and resources. On top of that, the historical moment was different: the Internet still had a bit of utopian idealism that infected its early days. Large and vocal communities were forming around newly accessible information, and it was easy to make and share powerful tools. 

"From the impulse to dominate the unknown, he points out, spring such desirables as the pursuit of knowledge and all scientific progress." —Maria Papova, blogger, on Bertrand Russell

What still applies by the logic of the SOPA Blackout? The absurdity of our political system is a disgrace. This system is acceptable until it isn’t. The Internet, though, has changed. It is no longer as young, and its cornerstone players are the biggest monopolies in history. 

Companies are fighting for policies that are so antisocial and far-fetched that there will likely be a moment that forces a reckoning, and possibly another watershed moment. In the meantime, distaste for the system is building into a foundation for collective action––people are discussing, debating, and organizing with each other and figuring out where the lines should be drawn. 

Every wave of change represents an opportunity for making epic moments like SOPA happen. And, perhaps that is the most cited of the legacies of the blackout; Congress is still afraid of getting “SOPA’ed”; that a piece of legislation will set off people who aren't afraid to find new ways to create a firestorm. They’re right to be worried.

How do we make the next moment happen? First, come with the impulse to dominate the absurd order of things. If you start to see a scam of grave proportions and can identify groups of people who would go to bat against it, try to feel out what your greatest leverage is—put your finger on the pulse of it. 

If you’re one or two people and want to build off of the moment you have and become the new zeitgeist, use a strategy that instrumentalizes all the different actors and points them in the same direction. If you fight with a thirst for blood and shoot for where it hurts, you will find how to protest in a way that matters. Who knows what will work, so try many different ways to speak to millions of people—both visually, to show what's wrong, and narratively, to pull back the curtain.

Some of the biggest problems in the 21st century, like monopoly power and surveillance, won’t automatically work themselves out. A lot of scrappy lobbyists know how to manipulate Congress, but there aren't enough people who try to do exactly that for honest policy changes that maximize good for everyone. There are lots of ways to approach doing so, and we should all be trying different things. If you want to use the Internet and new tech to help bring disparate groups together for the public interest, we need you. And, we’re still looking for people for an A-team to try some things here. 

Tiffiniy Cheng is a Political Director for A-teams. She also co-founded Fight for the Future and is a Shuttleworth Fellow. 

This Techdirt Greenhouse special edition is all about the 10 year anniversary of the fight that stopped SOPA. On January 26th at 1pm PT, we'll be hosting a live discussion with Rep. Zoe Lofgren and some open roundtable discussions about the legacy of that fight. Please register to attend.

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American Suburbs Are a Horror Movie and We’re the Protagonists

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My partner and I regularly have to pass this street next to an abandoned bank. There’s no sidewalk, yet cars zoom around the corner all the time. Creepy and dangerous!

This past year, my partner Dakota and I have been making an effort to walk to the nearest grocery store, rather than drive there. It’s a roughly four-mile round trip, and thus a little time consuming, but it’s very doable when it’s not a hundred degrees outside.* We both have desk jobs, so we enjoy the opportunity to get out, stretch our legs, and just chat without distraction.

(*A little aside here: We live in Austin, Texas, and for the duration of this article, I beg your forgiveness as I get loose with terminology. We live on the edge of Austin, so we are technically in a “city,” but our neighborhood is built much more like a suburb. Frankly, most of Austin, and Texas as a whole, is built like a suburb. So I am using the term “suburb” here as shorthand for the Suburban Development Pattern—and again, I beg your forgiveness as I do so.)

During Thanksgiving, Dakota went back to his hometown in east Texas and decided to stay with his family for a week, so I stayed behind to hold down the fort in Austin. That weekend, I had to pick up some groceries. The weather was beautiful—sunny but mild—and I really wanted to walk to the store.

When I considered making the trip alone, however, fear held me back and I ultimately took the car. Why? It was barely past noon; there’s no reason I should have felt afraid to go out alone in broad daylight, especially considering that Austin is hardly a dangerous city. Years ago, I’d explored Moscow with only a passable ability to speak Russian, and an even less passable idea of where I was going. If I could do that by myself, then surely I could walk to a store I’ve been to dozens of times, without hesitating?

Alas, I hesitated.

There were two reasons why. One was that there is no easy path to our grocery store (unless you’re in a car, of course): It’s a trek across multiple parking lots, involving cutting through a cheap hotel parking garage, a couple of unforgiving grassy areas, and several mad dashes across stroads. Frankly, it is not a safe trip when you’re walking or biking. Therefore, I like having someone with me, just in case (knock on wood) something happens and I need help.

  The parking garage we pass through. Is there anyone who isn’t creeped out by parking garages?

The parking garage we pass through. Is there anyone who isn’t creeped out by parking garages?

 One of the few strips of sidewalk we have  is cut off  before we actually make it to the intersection. There is a beg button, but it’s surrounded by tall, prickly grass.

One of the few strips of sidewalk we have is cut off before we actually make it to the intersection. There is a beg button, but it’s surrounded by tall, prickly grass.

 On our way to the store, I complained to Dakota about how dangerous this intersection is, and believe it or not, there was an accident there on our way back home. Thankfully no one was hurt, but case in point!

On our way to the store, I complained to Dakota about how dangerous this intersection is, and believe it or not, there was an accident there on our way back home. Thankfully no one was hurt, but case in point!

 We have to cut through this parking lot to get home, but without the stepping stone that someone left here, it would be hard to access on foot—especially if you’re disabled.

We have to cut through this parking lot to get home, but without the stepping stone that someone left here, it would be hard to access on foot—especially if you’re disabled.

Here, I would like to pause and comment that these concerns don’t tend to hold Dakota back from walking alone, even at night. He’s a big guy, and capable of protecting himself. You can probably see where I’m going with this, so I’ll come right out and say it: The other reason I was afraid is because I am a young woman, small in stature, and I have a spinal condition that restricts my movement and ability to defend myself.

Alright, but didn’t I just say that I wasn’t afraid to walk around in a foreign city alone? Why should my own neighborhood be more threatening? The truth is that I am not in any more danger where I live than I would be anywhere else. It just feels like I am, because of the environment around me

In trying to figure out how to describe this, I came up with an analogy that I hope will resonate with those who don’t experience the same day-to-day fears as I do.

The analogy is: Walking alone to the grocery store is, for me, like walking through an empty hallway at night.

Let me explain.

(Source: Wikimedia Commons.)

Images like the one above, dubbed “liminal spaces,” are pretty popular on the internet. These scenes depict a transitory space: A hallway might be one example, but so is an empty room with an open door on the opposite side—or even a parking lot or empty street. You know you are not meant to linger there; your destination lies somewhere ahead. But these images of familiar spaces are also always denuded of people, and often of other life, or ornamentation in general. They invoke a sense of uncanniness, uncertainty, and isolation.

There’s a reason lots of people are creeped out by empty hallways. It creates an ambiguity that our brains aren’t comfortable with. I don’t see any obvious danger in the above image, but at the same time, the environment doesn’t convey that I am not in danger. There’s no obvious attackers around, but also no indication that there aren’t any attackers around. Will I literally die if I walk through this hallway? I tell myself no, of course not…but my subconscious isn’t totally sure, and that makes me feel unnerved. It triggers that “hair rising on the neck” sensation, a hypervigilance that’s likely inherited from our distant past—and it’s a hard instinct to shake off.

That’s how I feel when I walk through the bare, people-less parking lots of my neighborhood to get to the grocery store. I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve seen other pedestrians while making this trip. If not for the moving cars nearby, it would be like walking through a post-apocalyptic wasteland. It’s an isolating experience, one that makes me feel very small and vulnerable.

Dakota snapped this photo of me on our way back from the store. I think it perfectly captures how exposed I feel when walking through these empty places.

American suburbs are full of ugly, empty, liminal spaces: spaces you are not meant to linger in or enjoy. They’re the creepy hallways of the built environment, and you can’t feel comfortable traversing them unless you’re zooming past them in a car. Why should we fill our cities and towns with places like this? Would you want to live in a house full of empty hallways? I wouldn’t.

If I were walking alone in my neighborhood and someone started following me, or pulled up to me in their car and began harassing me, what could I do? I could run, but there’s not many places to go, given that a lot of the commercial space between our apartment and the grocery store isn’t even occupied, and the stores and restaurants that do exist are spread far apart and not always open.

One of the abandoned retail spaces we pass on the way to our grocery store. Liminal spaces abound!

So…I could scream, but who would hear me? Who would even see me?

The reason I don’t fear this possibility in other cities, and especially elsewhere around the world, is that I know help is always within reach when there are people nearby. In fact, I did have an experience once abroad where a man cornered me outside of my hostel and started getting aggressive, and I had to leave and ask someone down the street to walk back with me, in case my harasser was still there.

Yet that incident didn’t stop me from going out again the next day, because the streets were crowded and I knew there was safety in numbers. This is not the case when I’m walking around most places in America, where if I’m not already with someone, then I’m pretty much on my own.

  Now that it’s winter, we often don’t make it home before dark if we go to the store in the late afternoon. Is it too much to ask for working streetlamps?

Now that it’s winter, we often don’t make it home before dark if we go to the store in the late afternoon. Is it too much to ask for working streetlamps?

PXL_20211223_002921387.jpg

This is a discouraging reality to live in: I feel trapped, consigned to staying shut up in the confines of a car or my home, unable to go out without a chaperone. It’s demeaning and demoralizing. I’m an adult; why can’t I walk outside my own door without being scared?

There are so many reasons why we need to start building places that are walkable. It’s better for our health, our communities, our businesses, and our environment. It’s also better for our psychological well-being. It’s better for our sense of personal freedom. I want to live a life without fear, where I can be a full and active member of the community, without restraint—or, at least, where I can walk to the grocery store without feeling like a character in a horror movie.

(All images for this piece were provided by the author, unless otherwise noted.)

 
 

Want more real-world examples of places that are—and are not—pedestrian friendly?

Check out our collection of case studies on walkability over at the Strong Towns Action Lab!

Visit the Action Lab  
  
  

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Superheroes create cultural acceptance for popular oligarchy

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I wonder whether the worldview from the 1930s has been transmitted via superheroes through time, and has been re-imprinted onto today’s culture.

When Batman was created in 1939 the name will have had a double meaning: batman is a military role, a soldier assigned to be an aide to an officer, with roles including:

  • maintaining the officer’s uniform and personal equipment as a valet
  • digging the officer’s foxhole in combat, giving the officer time to direct his unit
  • other miscellaneous tasks the officer does not have time or inclination to do, etc (list from Wikipedia).

Use Google Books to search for “batman”: the term hits a peak in the early 1930s (before the comic book character) and doesn’t climb to the same level of popularity again till 2004.

So Batman is a pun.

I can only imagine that readers would have been aware of this. Batman-the-hero is working in the dark, doing the dirty work for Gotham, cleaning it up, just as batman-the-wartime-aide would be up before dawn getting things ready, dispensing of tasks before the officer wakes, doing the running behind the scenes.

Batman as servant to the city.

Even if this wasn’t explicit the semiotics are unavoidable – but will have changed over time. I wonder how the depiction of Batman evolved, in the comic, once a new generation of writers took the helm and the military term “batman” lost its wartime currency. Did the servant aspect disappear? Or is it still there under the surface?


OTHER SUPERHERO ORIGINS:

Alan Moore (writer of Watchmen, V for Vendetta, etc) makes the connection between comic book superheroes and fascism.

From this 2017 interview:

While these characters were originally perfectly suited to stimulating the imaginations of their twelve or thirteen year-old audience, today’s franchised ubermenschen, aimed at a supposedly adult audience, seem to be serving some kind of different function, and fulfilling different needs. Primarily, mass-market superhero movies seem to be abetting an audience who do not wish to relinquish their grip on (a) their relatively reassuring childhoods, or (b) the relatively reassuring 20th century.

Nietzsche’s concept of the Ubermensch (1883) - translated: “superman” - became a Nazi ideal.

Moore continues:

I would also remark that save for a smattering of non-white characters (and non-white creators) these books and these iconic characters are still very much white supremacist dreams of the master race. In fact, I think that a good argument can be made for D.W. Griffith’s Birth of a Nation as the first American superhero movie, and the point of origin for all those capes and masks.

The Birth of a Nation (Wikipedia) was a 1915 America epic film, hugely successful, and acknowledged as an inspiration for the rebirth of the Ku Klux Klan, which took place only a few months after its release.

I mean…

Is this a reach?

OR:

Is Moore making a statement about the unconscious cultural origins of the comic book superhero, the effects of which ripple on today?

Let’s take Moore seriously for a minute.

Let’s say that the idea of the Ubermensch and the KKK fall out of the same belief matrix, being this: that there is a hierarchy to the ability and the worth of human beings.

This belief comes and goes. Today’s “woke” culture (a badge to be worn with pride!) is anti these kind of hierarchies. But sometimes is fashionable. For example in the 1890s: H. G. Wells was like many progressives of his time, a believer in eugenics (source: The New Yorker).

And it will have been in the air in the 1930s (the Nazis didn’t appear from empty air).

Then when superheroes were created that same decade, Birth of a Nation and KKK had established in culture a convenient visual language: apex humans, prepared to put their necks on the line for the rest of us, would forge their own identities with masks and capes. So it makes sense to draw the new supermen the same way.

Ok.

If this holds, if, does it matter?

I think origins do matter, yes.


ASIDE: ANOTHER SUPERMAN IS POSSIBLE.

The ubermensch isn’t necessarily fascist. There’s another way the story could have been told.

The comic book superhero is always someone special: an alien orphan, a traumatised billionaire, a genius transformed by radioactivity.

Compare this to John Campbell’s “competent man” archetype, from 1950s sci-fi, which I mentioned back in October: The “competent man” is the idea that there is nothing necessarily special or unique about the protagonist. Instead they are smart, clear-eyed, scientifically-minded, and, well, capable.

(If you’ve seen/read ‘The Martian’ then Mark Watney is the epitome of the competent man.)

The competent man is also ubermensch-y, it’s true, but it shows how differently the comic book hero could have gone:

Whereas there can be only one Superman, and it is very definitely not the reader, the idea of the competent man is that this is a role fully accessible to the reader. That could be me, imagines the reader, if only I can be smart and level-headed enough.

(Though it continues to be white, male, individualistic.)

What I mean to say that the creators of the superhero could have plotted a different course.


What does the current popularity of comic book superheroes, in culture, do?

It reinforces the idea of a hierarchy of human, with the ubermensch as its apex.

The superhero makes things alright without being asked. It looks after us, it protects, it cleans up the streets. It’s a parental role. (And, to Moore’s point, we’ve got these parental superheroes at the same time as we’ve basically got tech startups that do what our parents did for us: drive us places, give us food, fulfil whims on demand.)

It says that the superhero is someone other – it ain’t us. And that’s a good thing, it says.

Put like this, it seems like the concept of the superhero is softening us up for a popular oligarchy: an unattainable class of humanity which is super-wealthy with super abilities, and somehow championed by the rest of us?

Now I’m not saying that a popular oligarchy equals fascism. But, reading Umberto Eco’s 14 features of fascism, the two systems do rhyme.

So that closes the loop. The origins of the comic book superhero, returned.


Could you have the cultural acceptance of Elon Musk without the superhero Tony Stark?


All of which is to say two things:

  • maybe Alan Moore is correct and the comic book superhero and popular fascism have a shared origin story
  • maybe the early belief matrix of origin re-imprints on us today, decades later, and that’s something of which to be wary.

I sometimes imagine a chair made by someone who sits all twisted. Sitting in that chair yourself, you couldn’t help but to sit in the same way.

When a designer designs an object, their stance will be encoded and transmitted to the user. Imposed.

Is culture really passed on like this, not just with chairs or superheroes, but in a general sense?

Does it matter? e.g. does it matter that modern computing interfaces and the internet have their origin story in military money responding to situations seen with military eyes chasing military solutions? If it does, what should we do about it?

Maybe a fascist worldview is a memetic pandemic, one which blows up every few generations, for whatever dynamical system reasons, just as the Spanish Flu appeared in 1918 and a hundred years later we’ve got all of this.

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ADHD Accommodations Guide

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2 public comments
MotherHydra
25 days ago
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I feel like the onus is on the individual and not any org, specifically.
Space City, USA
pawnstorm
26 days ago
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As a person without ADHD I use a lot of these already because they help me to be happier and more productive. It’s kind of like the curb cut effect for productivity.

Maybe one day (in my lifetime) organizations will recognize that everyone’s brains function differently and stuff like this will move from the realm of accommodations to just being common sense. Though that isn’t to say that people shouldn’t need (or be granted) accommodations, but rather that a more flexible work environment would make them less necessary.
Olympia, WA

Left or Right

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When I saw this meme in my Twitter feed every day this past week, I couldn’t resist, it needed to be Semi Co-op’ed! I think it’s charming in its simplicity but clear visual language and oh dear, we could have made ten alternatives to this comic!

For everybody who celebrated Thanksgiving last week, we hope you’ve had a chance to enjoy some time with people that are dear to you! We don’t celebrate Thanksgiving over here but we do have the whole Black Friday/Cyber Monday madness nowadays. Did you get any new games?

We enjoyed a relaxing game of Wingspan, which is perfect if you just want to play a medium-weight game with excellent production quality. And on Tuesday we played a three-player game of Raccoon Tycoon!

 

Dit bericht op Instagram bekijken

 

Een bericht gedeeld door Semi Co-op (@semicoop)

We demo’ed Raccoon Tycoon on Spiel and Forbidden Games was kind enough to give us a copy of the game, so we were happy we finally got a chance to play it! It’s a fun and light economic game with very short turns, so there’s almost no downtime in the game. Players can influence the value of different goods on the market by playing cards and/or by selling their resources, devaluing them by the number they sold. But that’s just a way to get money, with that money you can buy buildings that give you all kinds of bonuses and buy cute critters on the auction! The beautifully illustrated forest animals have a set-collection element to them, the more you have, the more they’re worth – so that makes the auctions very exciting and forces players to “hate draft” because you really don’t want to let any player get that fourth one or they’ll probably win the game! Then there are also Burrows you can buy with resources for points. We really enjoy that the game is quick and breezy and really easy to explain and we don’t own anything like this. 🙂

We also played our first analog game of Castles of Mad King Ludwig! We used to play this game a lot while traveling on a tablet and recently we got the opportunity to buy a second-hand copy for a steal. We were too curious how the game would be “in real life” and if it would be very different from our app experience. And it turns out it’s not! Because the app does a lot of the thinking for you (tile-laying restrictions and scoring) we even think we understand the actual rules of the game better now. Definitely, one we’re looking forward to introducing to some of our friends.

We also progressed to the next chapter in That Time You Killed Me and loved how the introduction of a new game element changed up the game. We don’t want to give any spoilers, but so far we think it’s a lovely thinky two-player game.

This week we’ll be having quite some visitors spread out over the days because it’s Heinze’s birthday on Friday. Maybe we’ll play games, maybe we won’t, but either way, we will eat cake! 😉

Are you on left or right side of the bus?

The post Left or Right appeared first on Semi Co-op.

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3D-printed clay tiles designed to restore coral reefsArchitects...

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3D-printed clay tiles designed to restore coral reefs

Architects and marine scientists at the University of Hong Kong (HKU) have jointly developed a novel method for coral restoration making use of specially designed 3D printed artificial ‘reef tiles’ for attachment by corals to enhance their chance of survival in the Hoi Ha Wan Marine Park in Hong Kong waters.

The artificial reef tiles are specially designed to aid coral restoration by providing a structurally complex foundation for coral attachment and to prevent sedimentation, one of the major threats to corals. They provide anchors for corals of opportunity, i.e. dislodged coral fragments that are unlikely to survive on their own, giving them a second chance to thrive.

The 128 pieces of reef tile with a diameter of 600mm were printed through a robotic 3D clay printing method with generic terracotta clay and then fired at 1125 degrees Celsius. The design was inspired by the patterns typical to corals and integrated several performative aspects addressing the specific conditions in Hong Kong waters.In addition to the novel design of the tiles, the materials used are more eco-friendly than the conventional use of concrete and metal. The tiles were printed in clay and then hardened to terracotta (ceramic) in a kiln. The team plans to expand their collaboration to new designs with additional functions for seabed restoration in the region.

Read more at newatlas.com or check the source for University of HK press release

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