Archive for September, 2006|Monthly archive page

Lights off, Star on

All the city lights of Reykjavik will be turned off the 28th of september 2006 from 10:00 – 10:30 PM. A renowned astronomer will talk about the stars on national broadcast radio, everyone is invited.Lights off – Stars on is a grand scale happening that marks the opening of the Reykjavik International Film Festival. The City Council of Reykjavik and its neighboring municipalities have agreed to turn off all the city lights in the capital area for half an hour while a renowned astronomer talks about the stars and the constellations on national radio.

This is an idea by Andri Snær Magnason, an Icelandic writer of poetry, children’s books, plays and novels. Þorsteinn Sæmundsson PhD astronomist will talk about the stars.

Mmm. What a romantic idea! I do hope it’d gently nudge people out of their routines and houses to lay out their deck chairs, pour some wine, and have a chilling good time while admiring the sky – something that perhaps have been overlooked or ignored in the hustle of daily lives – while listening to the astronomist (hopefully with a baritone, magnetic voice) talk about the constellations. It’d perhaps inject some sensitivity, perspective and gratitude to wind down and appreciate our nature and ourselves.

via AndriSnaer

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Gehry – Purple Ribbon Hotel

Gehry Hotel Marques De Riscal

When I first saw the Hotel Marqués De Riscal architecture, the thought of a Gehry-copycat came to my mind. Turned out that it was Gehry who did this. Brutally put, I think Gehry has lost his touch. Guggenheim Bilbao was great because it was a breakthrough against the literally brick-and-mortar architecture mold. The curves were elegant and flowing – unlike this jumbled mess-tangle. While certainly iconic – I love the purple – it doesn’t quite remind one of the beautiful vineyard, the rolling hills that it sites in.

Maybe I’m just not geared to see the beauty in Gehry’s imagined slimy fish scales in his architecture. And I don’t dig his chair either.

Meet the World – Flag Statistics

World Flag Statistics

Icaro Doria is a Brazillian artist who have used the national flags of some countries to put an interesting twist to national statistics. While I’m not sure if the statistics are in fact accurate/proportional to the areas in the flag, this does smack one back in the head – behind the flag (often only flown in glorious masts) are true people living in what are often much worse conditions than us.

Here for more examples.

Design Detail: Cup

IKEA TROFE mug

If you’ve been given a very tight design brief where the client specified everything – size, material, colour, etc., and are whining that there is no scope for innovation or design, this TROFE mug from IKEA may inspire you a little. The tiniest of detail – a little gap in the base of the cup that helps drain the excess water after you wash the cup and turn it upside down.

This is great design, in my opinion. You can always still be clever in every space and every detail.

25/5 = 14

This video proves conclusively that 25 divided by 5 is 14. Heh.

Nobody’s Watching

Of course, everybody already knows what happens when you mix Mentos with Diet Coke. This video, “Nobody’s Watching Diet Coke & Mentos”, is a funny spoof of that video:

The gem, however, is that the two guys in the video above are not actually just any other two amateur cam-whores. They are, in fact, part of a Warner Brother’s mockumentary show (a produced show pretending to be a reality/documentary in nature).

The show centers around two friends from Ohio named Derrick (Taran Killam) and Will (Paul Campbell), who send in a home video of themselves to every network claiming that they can produce a better sitcom than the ones currently being broadcasted by the networks. In the show, The WB takes them up on this offer, and offers them both an opportunity to create their own sitcom.

So basically, WB hired people to pretend that they’re amateurs who contacted WB and got an agreement to produce a reality show. In other words, it’s a staged show pretending to be a reality-ish show in which the two participant produces a sitcom (called Nobody’s Watching). Wikipedia explains it here. Haha, if you’re confused, you’re not alone. Test audiences were simliarly confused, and that’s why Warner Brothers didn’t air it.

The clips, however, found their way into Youtube, and were met with positive responses, and so now they’re considering putting it onto TV. If you’re all confused, well, just sit tight and watch these videos (3-parts of the test Pilot Episode). They’re really good and funny!

Nobody’s Watching – Part1

Nobody’s Watching – Part2

Nobody’s Watching – Part3

Rube Goldberg Machines | Pitagora Suicchi

I guess many of you would have been forwarded clips like the one above – where elaborate and yet delightfully simple motions and mechanisms are activated as a ball (or something else) rolls along etc. This clip, however, is the grandmama of all – a compilation of the best mechanisms, and it’s deliciously 12:54 long!

It was only recently, however, that I learned that these machines are known as “Rube Goldberg Machines“.

A Rube Goldberg machine or device is any exceedingly complex apparatus that performs a very simple task in a very indirect and convoluted way. Rube devised such pataphysical devices. A Rube Goldberg machine usually has at least ten steps. The best examples of his machines have an anticipation factor: the fact that something so wacky is happening can only be topped by it happening in a suspenseful manner.

While the namesake goes to an American, I’d venture that the masters of these crafts are the Japanese. The classic Honda ad (where the car parts form a Rube Goldberg sequence) was a popular example, as it wow-ed and charmed many.

But for me, the “ピタゴラスイッ” (Pitagora Suicchi, Phytagorean Device) series from Japan beats Honda hands down in the variety and imagnation in the mechanisms involved. Pitagora Suicchi is actually a Japanese educational TV program aimed at kids. In between segments, a small clip of an Rube Goldberg device is shown (Heh, these clips are the best parts of the show! A typical show is like this.)

What a great way to keep the child’s attention, while expanding their imagination! I’m sure I’d be sitting through the whole program just to make sure I catch all the fantastic sequences.

Zen – Pebble Sofa

Zen Pebble Sofa

Carefull aligned, smooth pebbles are virtually synonymous to Zen interiors. A professor once told me that the pebbles are actually a form of abstraction of water. As one can’t afford to bring a stream into the living, the Zen-enlightened masters extracted the symbolism of pebbles in the stream.

This line of Livingstones products mimics these pebbles – but instead of stone, it is cleverly made of fabric and are soft. So you get the cool Zen feel while still being able to laze and lounge around these things.

[Link Updated 3 Dec 2007]

Pen Swirling Masters

I’m sure many of us have twirled and spinned pens while trying to pass time in boring lessons and lectures, while arguing which pens are more suitable for spinning, the weight distribution etc. I say now, learn from the true masters!

Call Blocker

call blocker

While I’d stop short of calling it a disgrace to logic and design, this device purports to shield you from evil salesmen and telemarketers by announcing this message to all incoming calls:

“You have reached CallBlocker™ and not an answering machine. All commercial sales calls and fund raising requests are not accepted, place this number on your do not call list. Personal and invited callers press 5 on your touch phone to proceed.”

Right. That REALLY makes sense huh.