Monday, 30 November 2009

The Pop-up Book of Phobias

The phobias illustrated in this gorgeously designed book, by donvanone are:

Dentophobie dental phobia, (with the rotating drill head)
Aviophobie fear of flying
Ophidiophobia fear of snakes
Claustrophobia fear of being trapped in confined spaces
Mysophobia contagion phobia
Glossophobie stage fright
Arachnophobia fear of spiders
Coulrophobie fear of clowns
Necrophobie The fear of everything that has to do with death

Read donvanone's review of Pop-Up books here. But if you would like to read it in your own language, then use Google's translation page.

Sunday, 29 November 2009

from Russia with Field

Field is an experimental short media art work by Selfburning with sound design by Alexey Devyanin. The piece explores many variant meanings of the Russian word, field. The animator used a typical country field familiar to Russians on which to edit in his notion of a "mystical form transformation".

To my perception this work resonates with mystical messages similarly explored in Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey. If you watch this tantalizing work in full screen you will see  a wash of particles sweeping from the left. Then when the camera zooms on to the broken shards you may notice, as I, that the particles appear to leave a smearing wash of distorted words across the almost reflective broken shards.

So, what, if anything, might it mean ?

Perhaps on a metaphorical level its the lightening speed of information and data that wash across our brains from the internets relentlessly transforming and or forming our comprehension of reality, every online minute of the day ?

Saturday, 28 November 2009

Bioengineering Spider silk

Spider silk is an interesting bio-material because it has a very high elasticity and toughness. Professor Albert Abbott is attempting to engineer materials made or based upon spider silk type gene structure by studying and remaking it with the bacterial microbes.

" You know from our stand point, we really cant silk spiders to get this material like you can silk worms and so what were doing is engineering simple cellular systems like yeast or bacteria to actually produce the proteins for us in great big bioreactors, and then we harvest that material and then we use that to try to spin new materials from it"

The Geneticists and Biochemists researching the possibilities are planning to make a whole range of new kinds of materials that would be important for say arterial graphs in tissue reconstruction, as well as a number of other industrial products and applications.

Notwithstanding, I imagine the textile industry would also be interested in being able to produce novel materials.

Friday, 27 November 2009

Geo-engineering dunes into architecture

Humans since ancient times, tilled the soil or carved a residence into the hillside or in other words engineered our landscape to suit our needs like carving through mountains to build transport networks or redirecting rivers and interrupting them to capture water behind walls of concrete.

"Due to human over-exploitation, over-hunting and widespread biodiversity loss, the infamous (Sahara) desert — which stretches from Northern Africa to the Red Sea and the fringes of the Atlantic Ocean — has suffered a serious blow to its fragile ecological balance.  The 3,500,000 square mile region now lacks the majority of the wildlife and botanicals that it once had, and as a result, its sands have been encroaching on southern Africa at an estimated 30 miles each year.  This has set off red flags because through this desertification process, essential temperate eco-regions are slowly but surely being taken over." via

Enter Swedish Architecture student Magnus Larsson, who wants to turn some of the most deserted and harsh landscapes on the planet into habitable structures, namely the Sahara.

His ambitious idea is erecting a 6,000km-long bacteria solidified sandstone wall from one side of the Sahara desert to the other.  A team at UC Davis has been looking at the microorganism bacillus pasteurii to solidify the ground in earthquake-prone areas. As Larsson puts it, "All I did was to deliberately misapply their technology ... and to pump up the scale, and turn it into a 6,000-km-long wall that's made of sand and protects against sand."

Thus affecting a huge Geo-engineering effort of "architectural anti-dessertification devices" in order to help save the continent that birthed our species, Africa.

Thursday, 26 November 2009

Bohemian Rhapsody by The Muppets

An hilarious animation of the Muppets performing  Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody".

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Sustainable Electric boating

Retired Queensland academic and marine industry researcher Gary Fooks says;

"Outboard engines are doing far more environmental damage than the oil spill from the container ship Pacific Adventurer... (and) ..weekend boaties using old technology two-stroke engines on their outboards dumped more than 3000 tonnes of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in the form of fuel and oil each year into South-East Queensland waterways.." Source

Thus it stands to reason that small boat or yacht owners ought look at swapping out their gasoline outboard motors for carbon free electric power units, specifically in the light of the video here of the  Re-E-Power Electric Outboard. The companies website carries all the information a boatie would need to purchase and install one of their kits.

Although the units may seem somewhat expensive,  the short term benefits of the electric drive provides instant torque and cheaper fuel especially if one utilizes a solar or wind powered generator. Whereas the benefits in the long term are no smelly or fire hazard chemicals to deal with or carry plus helping make the marine ecology are healthier place.

Whilst researching this post, I found this amusing electric powered recreational barbecue party boat.

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

The Ultimate Rube Goldberg Machine

This video, has been edited together with clips from CERN, Hubble/ESA, NOVA Origins, Catastrophe, Walking with Monsters, Walking with Dinosaurs and  Walking with Beasts. The video begins 380,000 years after the "big bang"

Accompanied by music track: "Lower Your Eyelids to Die with the Sun" by Teen Angst on M83.

Monday, 23 November 2009

Rising Tides Submersing Kiribati

Casey Beck and Austin Blair, from Tufts University, show in this video the devastating affects that climate change, and the worlds rising sea level is submerging their island country, the Pacific republic of Kiribati (pronounced Kiribas).

"Over the past 40 years the villagers have seen the sea rise, storm surges become more frequent and spring tides more forceful."

This small, central pacific nation, made up of 33 coral atolls, is one of the lowest lying nations in the world and is especially vulnerable to high tides and the rising sea level.

"The average i-Kiribati [Kiribati inhabitant] certainly thinks it's getting hotter," says Emil Shutz, a former government minister who now runs tours for the country's few recreational visitors. "Ten years ago they could fish all day in a tinnie, but not any more - it is just too hot."

Not only Kiribati, but also Tuvalu, the Maldives, the Marshall Islands and the Carteret Islands of Papua New Guinea are all presently experiencing the same continuous gradual submergence of their homelands  due to rising sea-levels.

The president of Kiribati, Anote Tong, has told Radio Australia's Pacific Beat program he's concerned by the negative outlook for the Copenhagen talks.

Saturday, 21 November 2009

New Zealand poised to Launch Atea-1 Rocket

due to liftoff,  from Great Mercury Island this november 28, will be the first commercial rocket to use hybrid fuel technology and the first privately built rocket launched from the Southern Hemisphere to enter space with its Atea-1 launch vehicle. Rocket Lab will also be the first practical alternative to conventional rockets at significantly lower cost. The emissions from their unique Gas Turbine engine are non-toxic or carbon free as opposed to the traditional launch platforms.

"The Atea-1 is designed specifically for scientific sub-orbital ‘sounding’ missions. and is almost entirely constructed from lightweight carbon fibre composites. Components such as the rocket nozzle and combustion chamber are all manufactured from Rocket Lab- developed composite materials which are a fraction of the weight of traditional metal components. The rocket generates the equivalent of 3200 horsepower from a rocket engine weighing just 13kg."  Source

The video seen here, is an artistic animation of Rocket Lab's Ātea-1 launch.

Since Great Mercury Island is a privately owned island I guess its only fitting that a privately owned space rocket be launched from it !

Friday, 20 November 2009

X-Flex: Amazing Bombproof Wallpaper

"X-Flex is a new kind of wallpaper: one that’s quite possibly stronger than the wall it’s on. Invented by Berry Plastics in partnership with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, this lifesaving adhesive is designed for use anyplace that’s prone to blasts and other lethal forces, like in war or natural-disaster zones, chemical plants or airports."

X-Flex is made from a “Kevlar-like material” sandwiched between an elastic polymer wrap. It’s lightweight, portable, and easy to install relative to the protection it offers: you just peel off the back, stick it to the wall, and bolt it to the ceiling and floor and you’re done, wallpaper or paint an be applied over it. Popular Science put X-Flex to the test with a wrecking ball as you’ll see in the video, you can also see X-Flex withstanding an actual bomb blast on their website.

Worth noting that, X-Flex is not actually intended to protect against ballistics, like bullets or shrapnel, just blasts and blunt impacts like bombs. Although not specified by X-Flex, the material may also have enormous potential in reinforcing un-reinforced masonry in earthquake prone areas ?

Authors note: I've just realized a completely unintentional uncanny coincidence that this post is numbered 911!

Thursday, 19 November 2009

A Fun Animation: Pigeon Impossible

One amazing lunch break animation that features a Bond 707 briefacase a pigeon and a Maxwell Smart type secret agent.

Written Directed and Produced by Lucas Martell music by Christopher Reyman


Wednesday, 18 November 2009

The Intel Reader

takes pictures of text and reads it aloud. It's designed to provide access to printed text for people with dyslexia, low vision or blindness. Intel's Digital Health Group researched and designed the mobile Intel Reader, which is built on the Intel Atom processor and run on the Moblin operating system. The original concept is from Intel researcher Ben Foss, who is one of the estimated 20 percent of people in the US who have symptoms of dyslexia.

"As someone who is part of this dyslexic community, I am thrilled to be able to help level the playing field for people who, like me, do not have easy access to the printed word. Feelings of loneliness are often the experience of not being able to read easily. The Intel Reader is a tool that can help give people with dyslexia, low-vision, blindness or other reading-based disabilities access to the resources they need to participate and be successful in school, work and life."

The Intel device may seem awkwardly chunky, but its designed for withstanding being knocked about or perhaps mistakenly dropped. The video here demonstrates its ubiquitous uses, such as being able to connect via USB to a computer and its cleverly designed case even allows you to shoot photographs while it's packed away. It's not your average e-reader, since it will apparently be offered for around US$1500, which seems rather sad for less fortunate people !


Tuesday, 17 November 2009

The Tonsils of a Leopard Seal

Watch dive photographer Paul Nicklen coming face-to-face with one of the Antarctic's most vicious predators by giving his all (camera and hands) to get a close up photo shot of a Leopard Seal's tonsils for National Geographic.

Monday, 16 November 2009

The WHY Yacht

WHY (Wally Hermès Yachts) is the stunning result of a joint venture signed in June of 2008, between the ultra-expensive luxury brand Hermès, and one of the world's premiere yacht builders, Wally.

The designers adapted the tried and tested Norwegian Ramform hull, characterized by exceptional and unprecedented stability and volume.

The WHY is a 3,400 m² (36,600 sq. ft) energy-saving, sustainable yacht unlike any seen before, at 58 m length (190 feet) and 38 m beam (124.6 feet) for 12 passengers and 20 crew.

So If you’re in the market to buy yourself an island-sized boat then this luxurious sail-less yacht has an estimated price tag, of $150.8 million.

This yacht leaves me somewhat agog. Nevertheless I've always wondered why there hasn't seemed to be any wide body boats until now !


Saturday, 14 November 2009

Bigshot DIY Digital Camera Kit

is a fun camera for kids and adults alike since it teaches anyone how a camera works. The camera can be powered with a battery or with a dynamo, where 6 cranks equals one picture.

Here in this video, Professor Shree Nayar talks about the purpose and development of the Bigshot camera project.

I really like the frontispiece rotating wheel framing lens and wish other cameras had a similar option.

Friday, 13 November 2009

The amphibious WaterCar Python

is promoted as the worlds fastest amphibious vehicle, driving on land and boating in water.

Dave March, founder of WaterCar, Inc., has been building cars & boats since 1976 and by 1990 realized that car and boat manufacturers were "were using lightweight high-performance automotive-type engines.  while Car manufacturers were  incorporating light-weight marine-type composite and alloy bodies and chassis." These coincidences crystallized into Dave's invention of the WaterCar.

There are two distinct versions of this vehicle, The Python which is factory produced complete build with your preferences in engines and body. The Gator (or Amphigator) is the almost pure engineered invention, consisting of the Gator Body and the Patented WaterCar Transmission, all other parts can be gathered from a Volkswagen donor car or bought right off the shelf from other sources.

The video here convincingly demonstrates the speed and agility of a Corvette powered oil burning gas guzzler and judging by its entry/exit at the waters edge highlights the need for leveled underwater surfaces, thus restricting its use to landscaped bay estuaries.

Since its up to the owner to choose their own motor, it may be possible to use an electric engine, such that  Plasma Boy employs in his White Zombie: Electric Vehicle Dragster ?


Thursday, 12 November 2009

"We Live in Public" Trailer

"Ten years in the making and culled from 5000 hours of footage, WE LIVE IN PUBLIC reveals the effect the web is having on our society, as seen through the eyes of “the greatest Internet pioneer you’ve never heard of”, artist, futurist and visionary Josh Harris. Award-winning director Ondi Timoner documented his tumultuous life for more than a decade to create a riveting, cautionary tale of what to expect as the virtual world inevitably takes control of our lives.

Harris, often called the “Warhol of the Web”, founded, the first Internet television network during the infamous dot-com boom of the 1990s. He also curated and funded the ground breaking project “Quiet” in an underground bunker in NYC where over 100 people lived together on camera for 30 days at the turn of the millennium. With Quiet, Harris proved how we willingly trade our privacy for the connection and recognition we all deeply desire, but with every technological advancement such as MySpace, Facebook and Twitter, becomes more elusive. Through his experiments, including a six-month stint living with his girlfriend under 24-hour electronic surveillance which led to his mental collapse, Harris demonstrated the price we pay for living in public."

Living in a studio house with 99 people for 30 days under 24/7 video surveillence without an opportunity to take a walk in the park seems to be completely unhealthy and unhuman thing, let alone a quite remarkably stupid thing to do, hey ?

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Tokyo Scanner : Flight View of Tokyo

This video is ripped from an experimental documentary (a promotional DVD for Roppongi Hills), directed by Mamoru Oshii, a Japanese filmmaker and writer famous for his philosophy-oriented storytelling. Oshii has stated his approach to directing is in direct contrast to what he perceives to be the Hollywood formula, i.e. he regards the visuals as the most important aspect.

Tokyo Scanner has been described by a forum commentator as:

"Basically it is a fly over view of several areas in and around Tokyo. It is shot with a very high-tech gyro stabilizing zoom lens that allows for a small area, perhaps 20M x 20M, to be zoomed in on from a great height but the image is still rock steady. At various times the image is overlaid with some graphics that suggest a targeting device, some text, and accompanied by audio that is supposedly from the scene." Source.

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Radar sourced video of the Moon

Bruce Campbell, from the Smithsonian Institute presents here a video, that was

"created from a mosaic of radar images collected using a transmitter at the Arecibo Observatory (AO) in Puerto Rico and receivers at the Green Bank Telescope (GBT). Radar maps can look like optical images, but they represent the amount of energy reflected back toward the transmitter by any given part of the Moon's surface. These maps are created by measuring the echo strength as a function of the round-trip radar time delays and frequency changes (Doppler shifts) that correspond to different locations on the Moon. The radar wavelength of 70 cm penetrates 10 meters or more into the very dry lunar surface, revealing variations in the abundance of rocks larger than about 10 cm in diameter and differences in the chemistry of rocks that form the Moon's crust. The movie begins with a view of the north pole of the Moon - the center of the side we can see from Earth is at top. The rotation carries us around the visible edge of the Moon, past the south pole, the giant Orientale basin, and back to the north pole."

Monday, 9 November 2009

The 4G Flash drive Harmonica

Jim McLean, the backyard harmonica teacher, from Riverside Illinois has invented a 4G flash drive with a mini playable harmonica. The harp comes with a 10-minute Quicktime harmonica lesson, preloaded.  Watch Jim introducing himself in this other video, and or go buy it here.

Sunday, 8 November 2009

Augmented Reality

or AR seems to becoming the next big mover and shaker in the mobile WiFi smart-phone world. In this video, CNN's Kristie Lu Stout demonstrates how this new software application works and how it can assist us, locate context relevant information with directions, products and services, around us.

"Augmented reality (AR) is a term for a live direct or indirect view of a physical real-world environment whose elements are merged with (or augmented by) virtual computer-generated imagery - creating a mixed reality. The augmentation is conventionally in real-time and in semantic context with environmental elements, like for example sports scores on TV during a match." Source

Friday, 6 November 2009

Fabio Viale Sculpts a marble boat

Fabio Viale an Italian Sculptor, based in Turin,  decided to make a working marble boat, he calls Ahgalla. The video here provides us a token insight into the labor and effort he made in carving his boat, he then takes it for a spin in the bay.

Fabio Viale has a sculpted a number of other marble pieces, that on close view, have a surface  that resembles lightweight Styrofoam. Fine art blogger Yatzer has observed

"Who ever thought that marble would offer such opportunities in creating distinct contemporary pieces that speak the language of today with the know-how of yesterday ?"

Thursday, 5 November 2009

Dystopian Dreams

is a dreamily seductive media art video by Ben Marzys with music by Gui Boratto;

"takes a closer look at the city's fabric as a site of sensorial explorations. The viewer is plunged into dramatic city-scapes where the notion of time and place and their boundaries are being blurred by the use of subtle morphing techniques. From derelict landscape to underwater city, one is being transported between dreamlike hybrid places, brought alive by the interaction of human activity."

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

goat understands physics

Somewhere in Eurasia someone has videoed  a goat climbing a ladder, walking a tightrope with a monkey perched on top, performing a couple of amazing tricks, 2 metres in the air.

Tuesday, 3 November 2009


is by Nitin which appears to be the beginning of a media art laser dance spectacle.

Monday, 2 November 2009

A Fun Japanese pop culture music video

is a minimal animation by Takeuchi Taijin with
music track TV Boy by Masahito and Kotubi.

Although I don't understand one word of the lyrics
I can't resist replaying it too many times,
possibly because the visuals are so simply cute.

Sunday, 1 November 2009

Subwoofer effect on organisms

A cat enjoys a  good shake while cleaning itself on top of a sub-woofer.

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