Thursday, December 24, 2009

Whoa. Lucky you weren't standing closer.

500kV Switch Opening - StumbleUpon
I haven't posted in a while; I'm busy with a promotion at work, and moving again, plus the holidays- but I couldn't resist this crazy vid of a switch opening. There's a bunch more too. It's a stunning display of the quantity of power that is carried in our system everyday: look how fat the lightening is! Scary, but fascinating.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Bio-Concrete, Explained.

Here's a thought. Some brilliant engineers inoculated concrete with bacteria and organic matter which produce calcium carbonate when exposed to air. The result is a self-healing concrete. Of course, the best part of this is the hot, but geeky guy explaining the science.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Eigenharp Alpha: What the Hell Is It?

I found this YouTube Video with three cats playing controllers (MIDI) that have wind, and keyed interfaces. Kind of cool. The two instruments traditionally most poorly represented by MIDI are brass and guitars; brass because there's a certain technique of expression via embouchure, and guitars because they have tactile expression. The wind mouthpiece seems more like a woodwind, which means you can control attack and velocity, but not yet pitch, like a trumpet. The keyed interface is limited in the same way as electric guitars, meaning attack and velocity are limited, compared to the tonal characteristics of a classical instrument, which are much more subtle. Still, this is an interesting display of controllers. The instruments pictured allow more intuitive playing for certain types of musicians.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Spacious Thoughts

I don't do much double posting, but I put this on facebook a few days ago. Tom Waits in a vid that showed up on Boing Boing; mad animation makes a brilliant display, and the tune is over the top. Rap and all, I loved this thing. The project is NASA, North America, South America: a collaboration. The interview with the animators on Boing Boing was a trip too! They used every technique they knew, and learned some new ones in an effort to animate the voice of Tom Waits as a dark cloud, a hollering spere!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Muto, by Blu

I started babbling about this at work: astounding animations painted on public walls like graffiti art. The artist has been traveling all over the world working on his projects. There's a groovy portfolio and flash site at his link.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Alice Cohen imagines Three Girls

Electric Literature just released a new single sentence animation on YouTube. I'm a bit twisted as to where to post it: generally, book news goes on my other blog, but I just posted a trailer over there for Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer, and besides, these always strike me as groovy technology, more than literature. I'll link again, though, to an article in Slate critical of the rise of book trailers. The author, Troy Patterson, laments the practice as degenerate, literary commercialism. Somebody should show him the single sentence animations.

Monday, November 16, 2009

The Apple Store Wasn't Very Helpful For Me Today

A discussion of the Pantheon on an architecture blog linked to this gem on YouTube. Built with 3D Studio Max, a software that only works on PC, the ending was like a punchline to me. I went into the Apple store with a minor issue after loading Windows on my laptop; I need a double boot system so I can better troubleshoot my web design. I ended up having to answer my own question online. I wish they would hire geeks instead of 'promoters'. I'm actually enjoying working on another OS; makes me feel like I have a choice.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Math Glam: 3D Mandelbrot Images

Mandelbulb: The Unravelling of the Real 3D Mandelbrot Fractal
There are some astonishing images at this link, along with a little math, and a dab of graphics know how. The discussion brings in some aesthetic issues, like focus and zoom, plus lighting and coloration to demonstrate how to express the object to its best potential. If you don't care about all that, you'll still be hooked by the pictures.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The Comedy of Change, by Rambert Dance Company

The Rambert Dance Company was asked to create a work of modern dance to commemorate the ideas of Charles Darwin. They collaborated with a bird scientist to create a movement based on the tango of manekins in Argentina, and created other pieces as well. I couldn't find a video with performance in costume, but the interviews were interesting anyhow.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Portraiture and Inspiration

Americans Who Tell the Truth Portraits 1
Here's a collection of paintings with quotes from artist Robert Shetterly. No doubt you'll find some of your own icons among them: I did, and discovered others. Its a pleasure to see an artist bring modern meaning to the art of portraiture. I discovered these on a blog discussing the ideas of an American thinker: the blogger linked to Shetterly's site instead of Wikipedia, for a more intimate image, and bio.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Lucid Living, by Miwa Matreyek

Miwa Matreyek at the CalArts Experimental Animation Program is both the musician and the artist of this compelling video. The breakdown of traditional media is happening faster than ever before: there is little reason for a digital artist to commit to audio or visual work. The processes are all performed with software.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Eclectic Method: Live and Now

Create Digital Motion » Eclectic Method: Audiovisualists Talk Streams of Perception in Babelgum Featurette
The techniques these cats use are great! One of the reasons their stuff works so well is the underlying narrative philosophy creates obvious visual relationships. Also the echo effect of pop historical (i.e. Fraggle Rock) and cutting edge news balance each other; the juxtaposition of politics and play, for example. Put it all to a dance beat and you have an awfully cool party that's information rich. Is this the future of social studies education?

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Fabio Viale: Sculpture

This wonderful video of sculptor Fabio Viale demonstrates one of my fundamental axioms about the art: sculpture is the study of materials and their properties. I think that to sculpt well is to use a material in such a way that it expresses its properties without cliché. You can appreciate the possibilities of a vessel shape or form differently when its made of distinct materials, whether its wood, clay, metal, or stone. By the way, I found it at What We Do Is Secret

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The Music Instinct: Trailer

The Music Instinct
Its interesting to see the evolution of musicology and neurology coming together. I haven't read any of the books on the subject; there are several out, and I'm feeling inspired now. Besides Bobby McFerrin, always a wonderful interpreter of the musician's side, I thought I saw Evie Glennie, the famous percussionist in this trailer. She was the focus of a documentary a few years back called Touch the Sound

Monday, October 26, 2009

Blink: An Installation by HC Gilje

Interesting project here from HC Gilje. The room is defined via the projections; flat projections, actually cleverly fitted to create three dimensional spaces and effects. What I really enjoyed about the projections was the attention to detail in the quality of the light. While in many respects quite minimalist, some the projected images have a very natural quality; sunshine on water or glass, light moving behind a tree or through grasses or reeds.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

AudioGeekery: Vintage HiFi

THEVINTAGEKNOB : vintage audio museum
I came across a link to this site at A Time To Get, a tasty style blog coming out of L.A. I'm a digital engineer, but I'll admit, I enjoy all these knobs and sliders. It reminds me of the good old days, and the sweet sound of big hot analog boards. Still, I celebrate the liberation of sound from a studio to a laptop. It's democracy.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Where does all that junk go? Now you know.

Trash | Track
An interesting project out of MIT: refuse is tagged with a transmitter and mapped until its destroyed or reaches the end of its journey. While not as enlightening as my own experience living on a farm with no refuse disposal (everything had to be buried or burned) it's still probably close enough to your own backyard to make you realize garbage doesn't just magically disappear.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Twitter Synchronicity: BBC Protesters and This!

Reading my twitter feed I was struck by the alignment of a couple of author feeds: Impre88 is the British author Hari Kunzru, whose feed pulled a Lazarus tonight (its been dormant since what? summer?) linked me to the protests at the BBC, then I got a link to this YouTube Video from Great Dismal, author William Gibson. It's like the cyberstars aligned.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Bruce Lee Plays Ping Pong

Funny how these things go. A fabulous video of Bruce Lee playing ping-pong using a martial arts device is being used to launch a Nokia phone. There's arguments all over YouTube about whether or not its real. I don't care actually; it's real cool.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

New York Times Debate: E-books

Does the Brain Like E-Books? - Room for Debate Blog -
There's an online debate at the New York Times about E-books which goes into detail about the various design issues, and how the interface affects readers. It's an interesting article with great experts; I'm glad to see the E-Book discussed in technical detail because I suspect the dominance of the format is near upon us, and the existing tools are still far inferior to paper books.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Papa: a photoessay

Papa. « A Continuous Lean.
Blog to blog, I occasionally stumble on something that really makes me think. Recently, I read Cormac McCarthy's The Road, and couldn't help but consider him a brilliant writer, quintessentially American. So much of the language in his books is mired in rural America, and the fifties; he is like Papa was, to the twenties. I read A Movable Feast while I was in high school. My mother was wary, but I think they ought to require it.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Hand from Above

Hand from Above | Interactive Architecture dot Org
Does God exist because we crave dialog with something above us? This piece is really great, I think. I love the reactions of the audience; how they immediately begin to play with the image. It's evocative, godlike, and yet playful.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Unfolded Book: A Video of Reading a Book

We Make Money, Not Art has a wonderful review of a an art book called Unfolded including a video that demonstrates the book jacket being turned into a poster featuring groovy paper art. The video goes on to record a pair of hands turning the pages of the glossy coffee table style volume, giving you a chance to glimpse the photos of exotic paper constructions inside. It's another teaser for lit on the digital front.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Lechuguilla, the most beautiful cave in the world.

Glassy pools, extremophile bacteria, mineral chandeliers: welcome to Lechuguilla. There's a slideshow at Nova if you want more pics of gorgeous caves. For the triple feature, check out the blog A Time To Get for a field trip to The Rock Yard, and some astonishing photos of granite.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Photomicrography: It's an aquatic larvae!

Nikon Small World - Photomicrography Competition
The winners have been announced for the 2009 competition. This whole site is eyecandy, but my favorite is this image of some sort of aquatic larvae by Fabrice Parais.

Phantom City: Now Available on the iPhone

Here's an interesting article on an app for the iPhone. It demonstrates a conceptual movement called locative art, meaning art which is location dependent, enabled by technologies like GPS. Locative art is a kind of augmented reality, and relates to ubiquitous computing (computers everywhere). There's an app out where you can see the twin towers as well. The iPhone kind of makes the helmets in William Gibson's Spook Country (which I reviewed on my other blog) seem clunky before their invention.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Rome wasn't built in a day, but you can work on it all night.

I admit, I hadn't even thought of CAD for urban design. Here's the software in action; CityEngine can be yours for a mere $4950. Of course, you need a pretty mean machine to run it well. Combined with an omnidirectional treadmill, and some groovy goggles, you can take a stroll through Pompeii (as seen on the BBC)

Free Human Skull Paper Model!

free Human Skull paper model
Spooky! Download and print the PDF for this life size human skull! Put it together with tape. You could make a whole bunch to decorate for Halloween. I love it! By the way, I found it on Boing Boing

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

All that is solid melts into the air.
I've seen this piece slipping between the cracks of the web for some time already. It combines sculpture, animation, and sound design into a formalist expression. What kind of art is it? Multimedia, I guess. The soundtrack by echolab is a critical part of the tension in the work.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Serial Novels: Back to the Future / Science fiction and fantasy / Blog posts / Cory Doctorow’s Makers, Part 1 (of 81)
Cory Doctorow's most recent book (described by the author on twitter as an econopocalypse hacker novel) is being serialized on I can't help but notice that RSS Feeds, Email, Bookmarks and QuickDial browsers make revisiting a site so simple, serializing has made a giant comeback. Charles Dickens published his novels this way. Part of the pleasure of lit in installments is that is becomes a social activity: you discuss it with your friends while you wait. Online comics have had this going on, but recently, I've noticed bigger and better publishers leaking on the web as a kind of promotion. It's exciting! A wonderful addition to this series is the illustration by Idiot's Books

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Maurice Sendak: Laughing at a Funeral

NOW with Bill Moyers. Transcript. March 12, 2004 | PBS
When the trailer came out for Where the Wild Things Are I was amused to realize the Wild Things were Jews. Of course, as a huge Sendak fan, I knew he was Jewish, and the darkness of his work was distinctively Eastern European, and Jewish to me. But Judith and Ira? A little research turned up this hysterical story about drawing the monsters after cutting up with his siblings while sitting shiva (a Jewish ceremony when someone has died). Love him more than ever.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Carl Jung's Red Book

The Red Book goes on exhibit today, and the New York Times has a gorgeous layout online. Who knew Jung could draw like that? I particularly enjoyed the Deco influences: this is no scribbley notebook à la Cobain, but an uncelebrated document of the Craftman, or Arts and Crafts sensibility.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Electric Literature: New Approachs to Fiction

The online magazine Electric Literature has just launched a new blog called The Outlet. I'm looking forward to their posts: the EL series of single sentence animations on YouTube are tempting teasers for the stories they publish, not to mention an innovative promotion of digital media.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009


I hadn't heard anything about this animated film until today, but the style of it blew me away. Bonus: the hero of the dystopian marvel is a cyclist, resisting the influence of evil commercial forces in his head.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Check out the Gorgeous Spiders

Unlike silkworms, spiders will fight among themselves. That's just one of the problems faced by researchers trying to recreate a technology from the 1880s to harvest natural spider silk. The spiders themselves are more incredible than the fabric; I've never seen the like.

in reference to:

1 Million Spiders Make Golden Silk for Rare Cloth | Wired Science |

(view on Google Sidewiki)

Weather Skeptics talk about the End of the World

It's not like I'm watching Fox on a regular basis, but somehow I came across a link to a video with a skeptical newscaster explaining the alignment of 2012. If the world does end, though, they'll cover it. I also loved the trailer embedded as entertainment. I guess I've spent as much time with the Maya as most, and am somewhat familiar with their ruins and the calendar. Speculation cheapens the accomplishment of a culture who independently discovered Zero. By the way, 2012 isn't the end of the calender; it is Year Zero. To ancient Mayans, the fierce power of Null inspired bloody sacrifice. Let's hope the new world knows better.

Monday, September 28, 2009

People Playing with Giant Multitouch Screens

Multitouch Barcelona
is a group working with various kinds of interactive technologies. In this video, we see people playing with several distinct programs, each of which is scrupulously designed with its own parameters and characteristics. The potential for installations is boggling.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Post-modern Eco Fashion

Bio-Accessories Breathe New Life into Wardrobes Bio-Accessories – Ecouterre

by Ben Landau and Brittany Veitch

These accessories by two industrial designers in Australia each have a living organism attached; the wearer will care for their accessory and develop a symbiotic relationship. The idea is to carry the environment with you through the cement and noise of the urban milieu. Are they telling me that bird is real? Is it tied to the post or what? Is this a good idea?

Friday, September 25, 2009

Projection on Buildings

On Spatial Robots a incredible video demonstrates an interplay between graphic art and architecture: animations projected onto buildings. What a wonderful way to enjoy a familiar building anew. Its a project of NuFormer Digital Media in the Netherlands.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Egg-Shaped Sludge Digesters

Pruned While assembling a collection of rss feeds featuring architecture, I came across this site. Great eye, you'll no doubt see me link here again.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Restaurants with Bad Names

I don't care how good the food is, I'm not eating there! Found via Fark: Restaurants with nasty names. They missed Fuk Yuen Seafood in Honolulu, a great place just outside of Waikiki that would serve Peking duck without an advance order until 1a.m.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Oolala! Tentaculum!

Freaky New Ghostshark ID’d Off California Coast | Wired Science |
Previously, my favorite shark was the cookie-cutter shark, an ancient shark that was known as the most bioluminescent of its kind. This might be even better. It has a thing coming off its forhead for mating. Handy for a quickie, I guess.

Monday, September 21, 2009

A Fossil of a Dinosaur Giving Birth

Found this in my RSS feeds today: a cool article at Not Exactly Rocket Science shows a prehistoric animal actually giving birth. There's more than one fossil like this around I gather. Beautiful.