It’s cats all the way down

A long week

Leaves of grass

This is quite lovely: Ecotonoha, a project by NEC that allows you to contribute word “leaves” to a virtual tree. Each day, the tree starts bare — and visitors show up to place a word on the branches. You’re only allowed to contribute one word per day, and many visitors accidentally submit the sample text that the Ecotonoha engine begins with (“Hello Ecotonoha!”), which slightly spoils the effect. But when you first load the page, it’ll show you a replay of the entire day, with each person’s cursor zipping up to their area and inserting their word; you watch the tree slowly sprout words. Some of the entries — “Damn customers!” — are pretty hilarious.

Design-wise, though, it’s the ethereal music that gives this app its truly zen-like effect. Indeed, it reminds me of some of the best atmospheric music in really good video games.

(Thanks to Grand Text Auto for this one!)

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I'm Clive Thompson, the author of Smarter Than You Think: How Technology is Changing Our Minds for the Better (Penguin Press). You can order the book now at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Powells, Indiebound, or through your local bookstore! I'm also a contributing writer for the New York Times Magazine and a columnist for Wired magazine. Email is here or ping me via the antiquated form of AOL IM (pomeranian99).

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