The name, We Make Money Not Art, is the supreme dickhead-uncle-at-Thanksgiving pronouncement, the slogan of those who know the price of everything but the value of nothing. So when anybody gives their blog this Michael Douglas/Wall Street-y name, you've got to figure they're total jackasses or have their tongues planted firmly in cheek. We Make Money Not Art falls into the second category—pretty much.
WMMNA is a link clearinghouse along the lines of Boing Boing or Kottke.net (with whom they're feuding over an un-credited story idea about a rumored new Google operating system). Unlike these other general interest show-and-tell blogs, WMMNA has a precisely focused vision and execution. Among the subjects that it traffics in are: design, robots, gadgets, art futura, augmented reality, activism, security, and cybersonica. If you spend enough time clicking through WMMNA's links, you'll quickly be convinced that we're living in a brave new creative world. Régine Debatty, who runs the site, has a great eye for people who are pushing technological borders in beautiful, mind-blowing ways. Some of the recent articles and galleries linked to include:
• An OHSU research project that helps people with balance disorders stay upright by sending musical information to the inner ear, which lets patients subconsciously know how to correct their balance before taking a spill.
• A photo gallery documenting Consumer Reports' testing procedures from 1936-1980. (This is perhaps one of the most fascinating archives I've ever seen. Nerf Ball flammability, anyone?)
• A team of Japanese scientists who have developed a camera that takes 15 pictures in half of a second, then somehow eliminates all the frames in which the subject's eyes are closed—a blink-free camera.
• British insurance companies that install monitoring devices in your vehicle that gauge your driving speed, time of day in the vehicle, etc., and then compute your insurance rates accordingly.
• Silent Italian raves where party-goers don multi-channel headphones and tune into one of four dance channels (pop, revival, techno, or world) controlled by onsite DJs.
After a few days of looking at WMMNA, I was repeatedly reminded of the overwhelming number of subcultures, studies, and enthusiasms that I couldn't even begin to imagine existed, and once again lit a prayer to the great Al Gore for inventing this beautiful internet where I can learn about pregnant handbags and swallowable micro-robots.