The Extraordinaries

It is easy to make excuses about not doing volunteer work, but what excuse do you have not to do a little micro-volunteering?  The Extraordinaries is a group that helps everyday people do good, 35 seconds at a time.  Just go to their website or download their mobile app and get access to all sorts of small activities that will help others.  You can help a child out of extreme poverty by providing some worlds of encouragement, tag some photos for a local museum, or  help build a database of dog shelters.  Lots of the activities can be done right from your computer or phone.  Most take less then a minute.  You can do good on the bus, while waiting for take out, before going to bed, or in an otherwise unproductive meeting.  What is your excuse now?

I couldn't be more excited about this app if I had thought of it myself.

BBC Blast Studio


The BBC currently have a great website up that allows you to play with interactive art in their studios. The BBC Blast Studios connects you to a live stream of the BBC studio (available 12pm-12am) where they have 3 interactive art pieces. Online users can choose an art piece to play with and then follow the instructions to participate.

My favorite is Mark, which gives you three paint gun shots at a large canvas. It is accompanied by a dragable timeline which allows you to see the artwork being created over time.

Fantastic idea. The combination of online visitors with real participatory art exhibits is almost too good to be true. This experiment in creativity will be available until June 9th.

Texts From Last Night

Texts From Last Night is a funny new blog that features those text messages that you shouldn't have sent last night. Some of the texts from the collection have a voyeuristic appeal, well others are all about the intrigue at the hint of a fantastic story. But of course most of them are just plain head-shaking embarrassing. Submissions are posted annonomysly, using just the area code to show a glimpse of authorship.

I am one of those people that doesn't read emails that are longer than 2 paragraphs.  I'm sorry, but I don't.  I just don't have the time or the patience to read 5 page emails.  I'm sure that sounds immature, conceited and worthy of a good eye roll, head shake combination.  But I would be way more productive if everyone stuck to a two paragraph email rule.

That is why I like the thought behind, which applies a disciplined approach writing short emails.  Comes in two, four and five sentence variations as well.

Inaugural Photosynth

CNN created a Photosynth of Obama being sworn in this morning.  Attendees of the event were asked to take a photo, or a series of photos, during the few moments that Barack Obama had his hand on the bible.  All photos were emailed to and synthed into a fantastic 3D exploratory image. It doesn't look like they have incorporated many of the user submitted photos yet, but I hope they add to the synth in the future.  I'd love to see it zoom in or out to incorporate all the photos of people watching the TV and internet feeds.  I've seen some great photos of people experiencing "the moment" today. See more inauguration synths on the Photosynth website.

I Love You More Than...


I Love Your More Than Blank is a blog  by Paperwhite studio that encourages readers to write in with something personal that ends the sentence: I love you more than ____.  They are collecting suggestions via email up until Valentine's Day, when they plan to turn the entries into a surprise.  It is lovely to read through the hearts.  Some are sweet and others are funny.  It's easy to find one that you relate to. (Found through A Cup of Jo).

ARK - Clothing to Change Your Life


ARK is a clothing line that tries to change people's lives through clothing.  ARK stands for Acts of Random Kindness.  The idea is that any time you are wearing a piece of ARK clothing, you are reminded/encouraged/obligated to do something nice for somebody else.  Each piece of ARK clothing comes with some kindness suggestions.  ARK even volunteers to provide some of its profits to you if you have an idea about how to spend it on helping somebody.  ARK even states "I don't even care if you don't buy a shirt... just get involved...".

24 Hours at Sundance

Today I am following 24 Hours at Sundance.  It is an experimental live reality tv game where all of the video feeds are streaming live from mobile phones using Qik.  The show is hosted by Kevin Rose and Ashton Kutcher, with 4 video bloggers as contestants.  The contestants are given challenges to complete over the next 24 hours (many challenge ideas submitted via Twitter to Ashton and Kevin).  You can watch, comment or participate live using Qik.

This is such a fantastic idea.  So far, it is playing out like you would expect a true live internet experiment to.  I'm staying glued to my mobile phone all day.

Follow the Host's Qik feed here: Ashton, Kevin

And the contestants' feeds here:  CJ Peters, Irina SlutskyMeghan Asha, Matt and Shira.

1% Water


As part of their 1% Water exhibit, curators Ilse Crawford and Jane Withers have started a Water Archive.  The archive is a collection of water samples sent in by people around the world to map the 1% of the Earth's water that can be used for human consumption.  They ask people to bring or send in 50 cl of water along with an explanation and/or picture of the source.  The water samples they are looking for are any fresh water such as; water from rivers, lakes, groundwater, rainwater, spring water, mineral/bottled water, religious water (ganges, lourdes), dangerous water (virus, toxic, bacteria, chemicals), polluted water (from industry or human use), water from special places/cities/ landmarks (water used to flush the toilet in the Eiffel tower or water from a special fountain), water which is stored in special places (3 year old water from a water bed, heating systems, fridge), tapwater (but only when it’s special).

Statue Appeal


In Sweden only 1 out of 10 statues are commemorating women.  A Swedish magazine called Amelia has started a Statue Appeal campaign to change this.  They have began placing pink pearl necklaces on male statues around the country.  Their website also gives instructions on how to make the necklaces and encourages people to place them on statues in their own towns and upload the photos to the Amelia website.  The campaign also includes 20 great Swedish women who they have nominated to receive statues.  (Found through the David Report).

The Human Race


Nike has come up with an interesting concept for a worldwide 10K run that they are calling The Human Race.  The race is scheduled to take place on August  31 2008.  In 25 cities, such as Vancouver or Madrid, there will be organize race routes.  But participation is not limited to these cities.  Nike is encouraging anyone with the Nike Plus software and hardware to also take part.  Their website offers training routines where you can track your progress.

Earth Hour 2008


Tomorrow, March 29, at 8pm is this year's Earth Hour.  It was done last year in a few cities with limited participation.  This year, they have put a lot more effort into raising awareness and getting global participation on both an individual and corporate scale.  Participants are asked to turn out their lights between the 8 and 9pm.  The idea is to demonstrate that such a small act, can make a measurable change.

Takes All Types


Takes All Types is leveraging the power of Facebook to help with blood donations.  It's a Facebook application with a purpose.  Users register their blood type with Takes All Types and then notifications are sent to them when blood is needed in their areas.  This is one of the smartest Facebook apps I've seen.  It's raising awareness and building a blood donation network by using the enormous force of a social network.  If you are not a Facebook member, you can still register with Takes All Types to receive phone, text, email or fax alerts of blood shortages in your area.

Things I Have Learned in My Life So Far


I'm kind of intrigued by the site Things I Have Learned In My Life So Far.  It invites users to contribute maxims that they have learned about life.  The site asks "What have you learned in your life so far? What is it that you are fairly sure about? What is it that you believe in by now?".  What I like about this site is that they have put an artistic spin on things.  Contributions are made in the form of digital artwork.  They are sketches, or photos, or movies created to illustrate or include the advice.  This one hit home for me... Take a moment, locate yourself.  (Found through Josh Spear).