Things 54: Plinthriller, Mars, Locational Privacy and Tape Portraits

(Originally sent July 2009)

On Sunday I learned the dance from Thriller from a humanist on the 4th plinth as part of Gormley’s “One & Other” project. One hour wasn’t quite enough to get it all in, but you can see the final run through by skipping to 55:14 in the video here (or watch from the start to learn the routine yourself!):

[Link no longer works, video cannot be found – always remember, the internet is a temporary medium – T.M. 24/07/11]

This week’s puzzle
Mars has just 11% the mass of the Earth, but on its surface gravity is 37% that which we are used to experiencing. Without invoking specific gravitational formulae, how come gravity isn’t a lot weaker on Mars?

The Electronic Frontier Foundation have an excellent white paper on the huge issue of what they term ‘Locational Privacy’. The gist is this:

a) We are moving into a world in which, as they put it, “Information about your location is collected pervasively, silently and cheaply”

b) It’s much easier to build devices and services that use location data without privacy, but privacy is possible to implement

c) If we’re not careful locational privacy will become a thing of the past

My prediction is we will see some interesting awareness stunts, some novel crimes, public perception will turn, flawed laws will be passed, and the world will never be the same again.

Portraits made out of cassette tape.

Things endnotes:
1) Things has become longer over time despite still retaining the same basic format: a video, a link, a quote, a puzzle, and a picture (and also sometimes a film section). So I’m going to try leaving out one of those sections each week.

2) Things has recently accidentally become biweekly due to holidays and busyness. The intent was to be weekly. The intent will continue to be weekly. The result will continue to vary.