Jeremy Bentham's Memorial Now Watches Its Visitors

Jeremy Bentham came up with the idea of the Panopticon, a circular prison that would allow one guard to observe all inmates without the prisoners knowing whether they were actually being watched at any given time. So it’s fitting that the memorial dedicated to the 19th century British philosopher, located in a hallway at the University College London, has been fitted with camera that provides a 24-7 livestream of the people watching it. Its creators call it the “PanoptiCam.”

Bentham, who died in 1832, did not want a regular burial. Instead, he requested in his will that his friend, Dr. Southwood Smith, create what he called an Auto-Icon for his body. Bentham wrote that his skeleton should “be put together in such a manner as that the whole figure may be seated in a chair usually occupied by me when living, in the attitude in which I am sitting when engaged in thought in the course of time employed in writing.” He continued:

I direct that the body thus prepared shall be transferred to my executor. He will cause the skeleton to be clad in one of the suits of black occasionally worn by me. The body so clothed, together with the chair and the staff in my later years bourne by me, he will take charge of and for containing the whole apparatus he will cause to be prepared an appropriate box or case and will cause to be engraved in conspicuous characters on a plate to be affixed thereon and also on the labels on the glass cases in which the preparations of the soft parts of my body shall be contained.

Visitors to Bentham’s memorial are able to see his body, minus one very important part: His head. Desiccation made the head too grotesque for display—you can see it hereso a wax stand-in was commissioned from French artist Jacques Talrich. (Though not on display, Bentham's actual head was in the Auto-Icon, wrapped up and sitting between his feet, until 2002, when it was moved to a climate controlled facility at UCL’s Institute of Archaeology.)  

The PanoptiCam sits on top of Bentham’s Auto-Icon, and it began as a joke. Two years ago, during a meeting about the informational touch screen that sits in front of the memorial, someone quipped that they should put a webcam in the philosopher’s head. It didn't take long before they were seriously considering it. The project—a collaboration between UCL Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis, UCL Centre for Digital Humanities, UCL Public and Cultural Engagement, and UCL’s Bentham Project—finally started streaming what Bentham sees last month (there’s are a couple of Twitter feeds, too). “Seeing Jeremy Bentham’s auto-icon can evoke a wide array of emotions from surprise and shock to mirth,” the team writes on PanoptiCam’s website. “PanoptiCam captures people’s reaction using a webcam mounted above the auto-icon, with the camera feed posted to our website in real time, and time lapse photography generating days in the life of Jeremy Bentham’s current, yet eternal, viewpoint.” The team isn’t just watching for fun, though; it also plans to use it to test algorithms that count visitors to museum display cases.

[h/t Fusion]

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Sensorwake, Kickstarter
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Wake Up to the Aroma of Cappuccino With This Scent-Emitting Alarm Clock
Sensorwake, Kickstarter
Sensorwake, Kickstarter

Some people need an aggressive alarm clock to get them out of bed, like Simone Giertz's slapping robot, or the singNshock, which zaps you if you hit the snooze button. For others, a gentler wakeup call is what does the trick. That's what you get with Sensorwake, a new alarm clock on Kickstarter that gradually stimulates three of your senses to ease you into the day.

During the first minute of the alarm's three-minute wakeup process, it releases a pleasant aroma. You have your choice of scent cartridges, including cappuccino, peppermint, rose garden, chocolate factory, orange juice, and pine forest. A single cartridge lasts 30 days before it needs to be switched out.

After reviving your nose, Sensorwake activates its visual component: a soft light. For the final minute, the gadget plays sound like a traditional alarm clock, but instead of a blaring buzzer, you hear one of five upbeat melodies. If all that isn't enough to get you on your feet, you can hit snooze and wait for the cycle to start over in 10 minutes.

With more than three weeks left in its Kickstarter campaign, Sensorwake has already multiplied its original funding goal of $30,000. To reserve a clock and two scent capsules of your own, you can pledge $59 or more. Shipping is estimated for November of this year.

[h/t Mashable]

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Dominique Faget, AFP/Getty Images
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David Lynch's Amazon T-Shirt Shop is as Surreal as His Movies
Dominique Faget, AFP/Getty Images
Dominique Faget, AFP/Getty Images

David Lynch, the celebrated director behind baffling-but-brilliant films like Eraserhead, Blue Velvet, Mulholland Drive, and Twin Peaks, is now selling his equally surreal T-shirts on Amazon.

As IndieWire reports, each shirt bears an image of one of Lynch’s paintings or photographs with an accompanying title. Some of his designs are more straightforward (the shirts labeled “House” and “Whale” feature, respectively, drawings of a house and a whale), while others are obscure (the shirt called “Chicken Head Tears” features a disturbing sculpture of a semi-human face).

This isn’t the first time Lynch has ventured into pursuits outside of filmmaking. Previously, he has sold coffee, designed furniture, produced music, hosted daily weather reports, and published a book about his experience with transcendental meditation. Art, in fact, falls a little closer to Lynch’s roots; the filmmaker trained for years at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts before making his mark in Hollywood.

Lynch’s Amazon store currently sells 57 T-shirts, ranging in size from small to triple XL, all for $26 each. As for our own feelings on the collection, we think they’re best reflected by this T-shirt named “Honestly, I’m Sort of Confused.”

Check out some of our favorites below:

T-shirt that says "Honestly, I'm Sort of Confused"
"Honestly, I'm Sort of Confused"

Buy it on Amazon

T-shirt with a drawing of a sleeping bird on it
"Sleeping Bird"

Buy it on Amazon

T-shirt that says Peace on Earth over and over again. The caption is pretty on the nose.
"Peace on Earth"

Buy it on Amazon

T-shirt with an image of a screaming face made out of turkey with ants in its mouth
"Turkey Cheese Head"

Buy it on Amazon

T-shirt with an odd sculpted clay face asking if you know who it is. You get the idea.
"I Was Wondering If You Know Who I Am?"

Buy it on Amazon

T-shirt with an image of a sculpted head that is not a chicken. It is blue, though.
"Chicken Head Blue"

Buy it on Amazon

T-shirt with a drawing of a lobster on it. Below the drawing, the lobster is labeled with the word lobster. Shocking, I know.
"Lobster"

Buy it on Amazon

T-shirt with an abstract drawing of what is by David Lynch's account, at least, a cowboy
"Cowboy"

Buy it on Amazon

[h/t IndieWire]

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