100in1Day Spreads to More Cities

On June 7th Toronto will be one of many cities having an intervention. 100in1Day is being brought to Toronto through the efforts of Evergreen meaning that Toronto will join many other cities in random acts artiness. 100in1Day uses art and other fun activities to break the routines and everyday sameness that may people get attuned to in urban centres.

The event is called “100 in 1 Day.” It is a global initiative with a lofty ambition: To shake the urban masses out of complacency, and compel residents to do 100 little things, dubbed “interventions,” to improve their city in one day.
Since it was started by a group of Danish and Colombian students in Bogota in 2012, the event has been replicated in a more than a dozen cities around the world. Interventionists in Copenhagen, Cape Town and Montreal have beautified abandoned phone booths, high-fived strangers in the subway and offered free bike tours to seniors. Toronto, Vancouver and Halifax are expected to join the list of cities participating this year.

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Thanks to Aurelia

Art + Activism = Craftivism

Some crafty people are up to some crafty activism. Craftivism is using your skills at crafting things you like to send message to make the world a better place.

Through activities such as teaching knitting lessons, crocheting hats for the less fortunate, and sewing blankets for abandoned animals, craftivism allows for creativity to expand previous boundaries and enter the arena of activism. In the pre-Industrial Revolution era, craft skills were needed to clothe the family and maintain a working household. As mass production increased, there became no need to knit sweaters for winter warmth or weave baskets to hold vegetables. Crafts were bypassed by modernity.

Check it out!

Philosophy is Needed in Corporate Boardrooms

It’s not often that you hear CEOs and other executives call for philosophers to be among their boards. In a recent Financial Times article, there is an argument that businesses need philosophers. People who are trained philosophers tend to look root causes and issues that impact whatever it is that they are looking at – something any company should be doing.

The added benefit of having a philosopher in the board room is that their presence can bring a more holistic sense to the company’s (and owners’) place in the world.

Asked to analyse a business, a philosopher would typically start by asking what its deep purpose was: that is, what its eudaimonic promise to its customers was made up of. Then he or she would look at how well the company was living up to the promise, before suggesting new products, services or brand messages that would align it more closely with its implicit promises.

Letting the odd philosopher into a business is not an indulgence. It would help management think more deeply about what a business should properly be trying to do with the customer’s life in order to improve it. There is (fortunately) no enduring conflict between understanding the psyche and making some money.

Read more here.

Thanks Janet!

Focus on Sustainability Film Festival

York University in Toronto will be hosting their third annual film festival all about sustainability. This year they are running films about oil. If you’re in Toronto next weekend or nearby you should check out what’s playing and take the bus to the festival.

Planet in Focus with York University Present: Focus on Sustainability Film Festival – the annual event with this years theme on oil! This entertaining and educating experience features domestic and foreign documentaries, a panel discussion with filmmakers and academics, an interactive film display, prizes, sustainably sourced food and beverages, and an e-waste disposal program. Please join us on Friday, January 31st, 2014 in the Nat Taylor Cinema (North Ross 102 at York University) from Noon to 9:00pm.

Facebook event page.

New Technique For Restoring Historic Videos

USC Shoah Foundation has a large collection of interviews with survivors and witnesses of the Holocaust and other genocides. Old physical media formats are susceptible to damage from fires to improper storage and USC has had to deal with this. The tech department at the foundation has figured out a painless way to restore and even improve the quality of footage from the damaged media.

Remembering history and being able to hear first hand accounts of events (no matter how horrific) can only help humanity. If we forget our history we are likely to repeat it.

Ryan Fenton-Strauss, video archive and post-production manager at ITS, was tasked with researching video restoration techniques currently being used in the motion picture industry. He found that there were very few existing options for restoring tape-based material.

“It seemed terribly unfortunate that after a survivor had lived through the Holocaust and poured his or her heart into a testimony, that parts of it would be lost due to a technical problem during the recording process,” Fenton-Strauss said.

However, Fenton-Strauss had an epiphany while sorting family photos with Google’s Picasa tool. He noticed that Picasa’s facial recognition software was so powerful that it could recognize his six-year-old daughter as a baby.

“I realized then that if we could automate the process of identifying the “good” and “bad” images using image recognition software, then we could correct some of our most difficult video problems,” Fenton-Strauss said.

Read more here.

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