Archive for February, 2009
New Orleans Carnival Week, February 22, 1941
Bay Area engineer Ugo Conti has created a boat inspired by insects that might change the way certain seagoing ships will look from now on. The WAM-V, Wave Adaptive Modular Vessel, is an ultralight flexible catamaran that is designed to flex and skim over waves rather than pierce or push through them. The ship also has a modular design to allow the cabin to be swapped out quickly– it can go from a research vessel to rescue boat in less than an hour. With the ship’s light weight and very low draft, it’s a fuel sipper, with a maximum range of 5,000 miles. Take a look at Proteus in action.
Generating heat and power from the sun doesn’t have to involve huge projects like the new 5 megawatt Kimberlina solar thermal power plant in Bakersfield. Conserval Engineering, which has offices in less-than sunny Buffalo and Paris, developed SolarWall panels decades ago which are made from simple corrugated and perforated galvanized steel. The panels are attached to the outside of the south-facing walls of industrial and commercial buildings and the sun-warmed air that is created in this cavity is vented up and into heating ducts. This simple technology generates six times the power of similarly-sized photovoltaic solar panels, but costs one-tenth the price.
Instant Watcher is a much better way to search and browse watch-instantly Netflix movies.
American photographer Anthony Suau has won the World Press Photo of the Year for 2008. Suau’s photo for a March 2008 Time Magazine article on the U.S. economic crisis, shows a Cuyahoga County Sheriff securing an abandoned home in Cleveland, after a mortgage foreclosure eviction. Take a look at the other World Press Photo winners gallery in 20 categories and stories.
Yale photography student Lucas Foglia has created an amazing portfolio of portraits of people who are re-wilding the way they live in the WildRoots ecovillage homestead of Western North Carolina and in other spots in the rural Southeastern U.S. Between the Depression 2.0, impending environmental collapse and all those broke-ass kids I see in my neighborhood, I’m thinking these ecovillage homesteads are the new TICs.
Personally, I never thought that Chicago was all that bad, but the Second City rated number 3 in Forbes recent ranking of America’s Most Miserable Cities. Come on, they’ve got great bars that are open past my bedtime, hotdogs, the ghost of Studs Terkel, and… well… give me a day or two. But how can Chicago be more miserable than Buffalo or Detroit? Number one? Stockton, California, where only 15% of adults have a college education.
Brooklyn artists Doug and Mike Starn have recently completed See It Split, See It Change, a 250 foot-long wall of fused glass panels and mosaic that curves along the walls of the new South Ferry subway station in New York. The $1.5 million installation looks stunning in pictures with its luminescent glass tiles and an especially nice looking mosaic made from a topographic map drawn in 1640. Read more about the installation or see more pictures here.
Probably one of the last signature architecture pieces in New York for a while the new Cooper Union academic building at Third Ave. and 7th St. in New York is taking shape. Designed by Thom Mayne of Morphosis, the building will have a 120ft. atrium, Gold LEED certification, carbon dioxide detectors in the building that will automatically dim power and ventilation when rooms are unoccupied and a green roof that will be covered by a layer of low-maintenance plantings. One of the more interesting things about the building is that Cooper Union’s promotional website contains the worst description ever written in English about a building, e.g.: The zoning envelope proscribes the kind of exuberant challenge to the grid that the institutional personality of Cooper Union would seem to demand.
Some nerds at MIT have developed a wearable computer system that projects Internet data onto any surface. Pattie Maes of the lab’s Fluid Interfaces group says the device hopes to create a new digital sixth sense for humans.
It seems Luca Marchio, a 33 year old native of Como, Italy, is perhaps the first Western tourist in Iraq since the start of the war. It wasn’t an easy trip to get there either. Marchio went from Italy to Egypt, then to Turkey, and from there to Kurdistan on a 10-day visa and then took a taxi 200 miles to Baghdad. After spending an afternoon touring the sites of Baghdad by taxi, the next morning he took a public bus 40 miles west to Fallujah. I am a tourist. I want to see the most important cities in the country, Marchio told a journalist as to why he was in Falluja. But fearing for his safety after spotting him on a bus, Falluja police called in the American marines, the Italian Embassy and then held him overnight for his safety. The flummoxed Italian Embassy in Baghdad explained to him that it was not safe to move around in Iraq. He is a little bit naïve, said the deputy chief of the Italian mission in Baghdad.