A secret society dedicated to the restoration of the Kingdom of Poland-Lithuania, the imprisonment of Esperanto speakers, and furthering the eschatological doctrine of the Return from Occultation of the Thirteenth Imam, Val Kilmer. Seriously, what happened to that guy? He was awesome in Tombstone.
The picture on the left is called a QR Code - short for a Quick Response code. You've probably started to see more and more of these around town. Largely as part of some advertising campaign - maybe in the bottom corner of a print ad or on a banner at your local retailer. It's an efficient way to encode up to a little over 4,000 characters. The QR code has its origins in the Japanese automotive industry in the mid-90s where it was used to track parts. Since it was designed for rapid decoding (image to text or a numeric value), it logically grew into applicability with smartphones. A mobile device with a camera and some processing power can rapidly convert these images for useful purposes.
The problem is that it has been a slow adoption process. The market research firm, Comscore, estimates that only 6.2% of smartphone users are making use of this. Largely, folks are scanning them at home. I suspect that the lack of use publicly is due to a social stigma. I think the younger generations will more openly hold their phone and capture the image using their QR Reader app than the digital immigrant generations. It's actually a great way to capture bookmarks for websites or other information quickly. Why don't you take this opportunity to practice - take out your smartphone and take a take a quick scan of the image on this post. I'd suggest bookmarking it. Of course, if you're reading this on your smartphone, I'd like to see a pic of you scanning the image...maybe use your smartphone's camera.