Tech round-up for November 14: Amazon's HQ2 (and HQ3), Columbia Sportswear keeps you warm and dry, David Byrne's protest songs, Amanda Palmer's protest video, teamLab's digital art

Comments None
Categories Consumer technology |

This week, David Byrne shows us that protest songs have always been around, and Amanda Palmer is unflinching in her response to violence against women. Plus, a new permanent exhibition of digital art has opened in Tokyo. But first, Columbia Sportswear uses technology in its clothing design to keep you warm and dry and Amazon announces the location for new headquarters.

Amazon reveals decision on HQ2

Amazon’s second headquarters, HQ2, is actually located in two cities: New York and Washington, D.C.

Not only are there two locations for HQ2, they aren’t actually in those major centres. The New York location is in Long Island City, across the Hudson River from Manhattan, and the D.C. location is Crystal City, in northern Virginia. But each city is very close to the major metro centre they will be known for.

Urbanist Richard Florida saw this coming.

Florida is also among those who think the promotion around Amazon searching for a second corporate centre was a ploy to win major tax breaks by pitting cities against each other. Marketing professor and author Scott Galloway called it “a ruse”.

This is from Derek Thompson’s article at the Atlantic: “Companies often decide where they want to go and then find ways to get their dream city, or hometown, to pay them to do what they were going to do anyway. For example, Amazon is a multinational company with large media and advertising divisions. The drama of the past 13 months probably wasn’t crucial to its (probable) decision to expand to New York City, the unambiguous capital of media and advertising.”

Florida thinks that Bezos and Amazon have an opportunity here: “Realizing that accepting such excessive public funds may create a backlash that could cost its brand dearly, Amazon could reject incentives and pledge with its new and old headquarter cities to address pressing issues and challenges like transit, homelessness, and housing affordability. The gains to its brand would far outstretch the actual monetary value of any incentives offered by the cities which, relatively, scarcely add to Amazon’s massive value and profits, anyway.”

Technological advances improve wearability of Columbia outdoor clothing

I’ve been covering technology for quite a number of years. It’s been a bit breathtaking at times in part because of how quickly things change, but also because of how technology is impacting so much of our lives.

Case in point: the technology used to make our clothes better.

Portland’s Columbia Sportswear, for example, has always been pushing to make clothing better, and was one of the first companies to use reflective technology to provide more warmth to people wearing Columbia clothes.

But that’s only one technology Columbia is improving on. The company is also making waterproof jackets better with OutDry Extreme, which combines a waterproof exterior with a wicking liner. For those of us living in the Pacific Northwest, this is essential.

Yes, it rains here quite a bit, but we don’t let that stop us from getting outside. And when we get outside, and active, in a wet or humid environment, typical waterproof jackets keep the rain out, but we end up wet anyway because we sweat inside the jacket, and all of that moisture is also trapped.
Columbia sent some things to my family to try out , and they arrived just in time for the first pineapple express storms of the season to hit metro Vancouver.

I put the OutDry Ex Stretch Hooded Shell and Conspiracy III Titanium ODX Eco to test over more than a week at a half-dozen soccer sessions up here in North Vancouver where I’m a coach for my daughter and son’s youth teams.

The jacket and shoes kept me dry, from the outside as well as from inside, and they also kept me warm. I didn’t need anything more than a t-shirt under the jacket even when the temperature started dropping into the single digits.

In the past week the rain’s let up but the temperature has dropped precipitously, and the Titan Pass 2.0 Fleece with Columbia’s Omni-Heat Thermal Reflective 3D technology has kept me toasty during early morning walks with the dog.

My daughter takes off the stylish Canyon Point II Shirt Jacket only long enough to wash it. And she’s been loving the Lookout Crest Jacket because the longer styling keeps her legs dry, too, on those wet walks to school.

I do have one criticism about the Columbia gear my family tested, and it has to do with the cut and styling of women’s outdoor clothing.
While men’s jackets are pretty straight, women’s jackets are all tapered through the torso. The straight cut is easier for different body shapes to wear. Women should not have to purchase a men’s jacket in order to find something that fits comfortably.

But in terms of the technology being used by Columbia to keep people warm and dry, Omni-Heat 3D and OutDry Extreme materials are excellent.

David Byrne’s protest song playlist

A few days before the U.S. midterms, musician and artist David Byrne presented his list of “protest” songs.

In part the list was his response to journalists and media wondering why there weren’t any protest songs (perhaps nostalgic for early Dylan, maybe).

“They never went away—in fact, they now come from all directions in every possible genre—country songs, giant pop hits, hip hop, classic rock, indie and folk,” wrote Byrne. “Yes, maybe there weren’t many songs questioning the wisdom of invading Iraq, but almost every other issue has been addressed.”

He’s curated 49 songs that include Dylan (“Hurricane”) among a diverse and eclectic mix that also includes Kendrick Lamar, Bikini Kill, and Kesha.

You can listen to all of the songs streaming at Byrnes’ website.

Artist Amanda Palmer releases music video for “Mr. Weinstein Will See You Now”

I can’t comprehend the experience of women and girls who suffer and survive violence and abuse. That seems to epitomize fear.

This era of #MeToo feels to me like there’s enough of a groundswell to change the world.

People like Amanda Palmer are that change. The composer, musician, and activist released a music video for her song, “Mr. Weinstein Will See You Now” on the first anniversary of the publication of the investigation into Harvey Weinstein by the New York Times.

Palmer posted the video to her Patreon page, but has set it to public so it can be viewed by anyone.

The video is accompanied by an article in which Palmer writes about the context of the song and the creation of the video.

The cast and crew consisted of “over 60 women crew & performers in Brooklyn”, many of whom “had never acted, performed, or been in a video”.

Cast member Alex Woodhouse said, “We didn’t lip sync – we sang our fucking guts out. The energy in the room was palpable and radiant – strong enough to move fear and shatter the emotional entrenchment, the forced compartmentalization and the shame. This wasn’t just a video production – this was change happening at the most fundamental level.”

It’s not safe for work. And be warned that it’s triggering. As Palmer wrote in an email to subscribers, “It is not an easy video to watch … How could it be, given what we are discussing?”

But it is an important and powerful video that deserves to be watched and shared.

Digital art exhibition Borderless looks stunning

This summer in Tokyo, the world’s first digital art museum opened. Borderless contains unique artworks by Japanese art group teamLab, which have been displayed at exhibitions around the world and now have a permanent home.

In the 10,000 square foot space, artists use 520 computers and 470 projectors to create immersive, 3D experiences that aim to allow “visitors to melt into the art and become part of it”.


Commenting is closed for this article.

← Older Newer →