Technology won’t necessarily save us

The economics of metafilter. Our traffic fell of a cliff in February 2013 and never recovered. Weird / inside the Apple Mac / Death by GPS, when technology leads you astray / a modern house in Rye / kickstart a game of crazy golf in Trafalgar Square / how autonomous cars map London / searching for the Nazi gold train.

Posted in technology, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Ribbons, anniversaries, re-imaginings

X-Palm, SMAQ architecture on re-shaping the luxury refuges of the past / the relationship between Ping-Pong and Tech Bubbles / storing energy in railcars on a gentle incline / Chernobyl: Atomic City, a piece by Will Wiles from 2012. Related, one of many 30 years on pieces posted last month / a huge collection of typewriters for sale / related, the Mclaren F1 is tied to a 20 year old laptop / lengthy exploration of Google Maps and their new, sparser style / this page puts Google and Bing side by side / bad drivers are a good indicator of a corrupt government / art books from Nobody’s Bookshop / archiving goes mainstream with Clixta, an app designed to share your family history / twentieth century British prints / After eight years, the actor playing London’s comedy mayor Boris Johnson is quitting the role.

Posted in design, ephemera | Leave a comment

Hiding in plain sight

Hiding in Plain Sight, a visual history of camouflage by Josh Kramer at Wilson Quarterly / concept designs and new wheeled things at Motorcove / a collection of publications at PDF mags / GM’s Moon Buggy Design of 1964, via Moonbase Central / early aviator Jan Nagórski was not only the first man to loop the loop in a flying boat, but he popularised the use of red paint for Arctic aircraft / related, Wikipedia’s list of missing aircraft / 48% Of People Who Buy Vinyl Don’t Even Listen To It, Study Finds. Of those, ‘7 % don’t even own a turntable’ / browser based experiences by Pol Clarissou, especially the haunting Offline.

Posted in ephemera | Leave a comment

Piles of things moved from there to here

Ongoing link dump, apologies for random stream of thought. Brutalist Websites, or rugged style that transcends fashion. See also anything built in Indexhibit (via MeFi) / the life of designer Alan Bartram / visual musings on the Apple Car / Our Unfinished World, a web writing project / Music Thing Modular is a welcome reprise for one of our favourite sound blogs, with a collection of how to videos and demos / the World of Waterfalls, created by an enthusiast for cascading water / get away from it all: Private Islands online / Zaha Hadid Architects has 36 projects in 21 countries still to complete / paintings by Stephen Magsig / where did the Good Life go? What happened to the self-sufficient people of the 1970s? / art: Smiths Magazine is produced by Goldsmiths students / drawings by Cameron Martin / Untitled Projects is a project by Conrad Bakker / Cycle Spanners, art by Peter Baker / music: Xiu Xiu plays the music of Twin Peaks. A chance to link to the Twin Peaks Synthwave tribute / also related, the striking anime-style video for Gunship’s Fly for your life / all things Blues Explosion at Pop Catastrophe / a little snippet of music history past, Project Ford Timelord / a few tumblrs: art, etc., at Thunderstruck; No Context, a blog of art, design and more from Christopher Kosek; more art at Elividal.

Posted in art, music | Leave a comment

Death on the file

Facebook is a growing and unstoppable digital graveyard: ‘By 2012, just eight years after the platform was launched, 30 million users with Facebook accounts had died. That number has only gone up since. Some estimates claim more than 8,000 users die each day. At some point in time, there will be more dead Facebook users than living ones.’ See also, a web service that ‘preserves your most important thoughts, stories and memories for eternity’. A better bet than cryonics (via MeFi).


The Dark Side of Guardian Comments. Miserable / Dodos, not fat or even particularly tasty. Still dead, though / The Last Mission to the Moon: undertake ‘a real-time journey through the Apollo 17 mission’ / see also the immersive Apollo 11 VR experience / Velocipedia, bicycles drawn from memory then rendered, a project by Gianluca Gimini (via MeFi) / Stuart Haygarth’s treasure-from-trash survey of British beaches / the impending end of MoMA’s architecture and design galleries / the graphic art of Anton Repponen.

Posted in architecture | Leave a comment

Back from the brink

Apologies for the long absence. Architecture: ten Zaha Hadid designs that were never built / Peter Zumthor’s first project, from 1970, ‘available to rent for a weekend at half the price of the latest Zumthor 850-page long monograph‘. At the great OfHouses, ‘a collection of Old Forgotten Houses’ / Bluecote, the (mostly) British experience of Modernism / the quest for the world water speed record has an 85% fatality record / Wikipedia in Angola is a place where pirated films are hidden in image files / a review of Rowan Moore’s Slow Burn City (monumentally unwieldy URL, will probably die soon) / NY after the collapse, ‘the plants take over when the humans leave the city‘ / Fotomat, ‘a pioneer in rush-processing, and became massively popular by offering one-day turnaround, which had previously seemed unheard of’. At Lost Laurel, a blog devoted to the history of Laurel, Maryland.


Photography by Alec Dawson / The State of Kuwait, linoprints by Dan Howden / Tracking Time, by Camilo José Vergara (via Kottke), a deep-level ‘then and now’ exploration of New York, Chicago, Detroit and more (see also Phil Collins past and present, also at Kottke) / James Mollison’s series on Libyan Battle Trucks / photography by Chris Dorley-Brown / Allen Jones Loves Women, But Can Women Love His Art? / The dead water parks at the heart of Disney World Florida, an exploration by photographer Seph Lawless / exquisite urban details from Matthieu VenotInstagram / Øystein Sture Aspelund’s architectural series ‘Cyan‘.


Design. The ultimate exploration vehicle / the home of typographer Alan Kitching / an early book by Nikolaus Pevsner, Visual Pleasures from Everyday Things / Beyond the Sea: unexpected vistas of the world’s coastlines / Project Greenglow and the battle with gravity / Have fun with these Chrome Experiments / Plastic Surgery With a Mouse Click, on the increasing use of digital body changing in film / the terrifying possibly of the Ostagram / Apollo 11 Saturn V Launch Camera E-8 / Design Facts.

Posted in art, design | Leave a comment

Captain Crunch

If making toast in the modern style doesn’t appeal, why not try Grub, a new service selling crunchy crickets, grasshoppers and worms, either as snacks or cooking ingredients (beginner’s guide to roasting insects). Will it catch on? Possibly not, but Grub is simply following on from the classic nineteenth century tome, Why not eat insects? Vincent M. Holt’s 1885 pamphlet extolled “entomophagy” but acknowledged there were cultural hurdles to climb:

The general abhorrence of insects seems almost to have increased of late years, rather than diminished, owing, no doubt, to the fact of their being no longer familiar as medicines. At one time the fact of their being prescribed as remedies by village quacks and wise men made people, at any rate, familiar with the idea of swallowing them. Wood-lice, which conveniently roll themselves up into the semblance of black pills, were taken as an aperient; centipedes were an invaluable specific for jaundice; cockchafers for the plague; ladybirds for colic and measles.


Other things. (Press release) + (word cloud) – (make and model name) = a whole lot of marketing jargon, analysing auto cliches at The Drive / some fascinating supersonic history in a post about Boom.Aero / a next generation SST is the perfect place to listen to music by Nicolas Godin, one half of Air / notepads from fictional hotels, from Herb Lester / cityscape drawings by Daniel Greenfield at Architizer / architectural paintings by Mandy Payne / the story of Jacobin magazineofficial site.

Posted in ephemera | Leave a comment

Digital nature

If you want to create a totally artificial world, there are multiple tools at your fingertips. The leading terrain generation software used to be Bryce, but it hasn’t been updated for many years. Bryce was launched in 1994 and used fractal geometry to create realistic-looking worlds, the likes of which had never been seen before, especially on humble desktops. Today the alternatives include World Machine, Planetside and VUE, the latter forming the digital-organic building blocks for a whole host of movies (it is deeply disappointing that no-one has created planet-building software suite called Magrathea). Drilling down to individual pieces of vegetation is the next logical step. Packages like SpeedTree and Plant Factory allow you to create intricate planting schemes, from flowerbeds to forests, with ‘precise wind and breeze algorithms’, seasons and growth animations. We were set off on this silicon sylvan path by this RPS feature on the landscape building of Firewatch, the wilderness-roaming adventure set in the pine forests of Wyoming. From the comments, the concept of Prospect-Refuge Theory, or the idea that we interpret a landscape through our innate desire for both’opportunity (prospect) and safety (refuge)’ and how this impacts on our aesthetic appreciation of landscape / related, buy specialist Lego vegetation at Alt Bricks / also sort of related, this concept art for Zootopia (bizarrely renamed Zootropolis in the UK) shows inclusive world-building at its finest.

Posted in games, thoughts | Leave a comment

Maybe it’s my clothes must be to blame

The idea of torching ‘several million pounds worth’ of punk memorabilia is suitably iconoclastic at first glance, but scratch the surface and it’s paradoxes all the way down. No-one is denying that the transient ephemera of an era has a value, invariably distorted by celebrity, rarity, provenance and any number of variables. In all probability, the Corre Collection contains “… old T-shirts and posters from the era that weren’t meant to last more than a weekend,” but scouring this stuff from the cultural landscape through deliberate destruction doesn’t really read as a protest. For a start, the ‘Punk London‘ event seems to be thriving on the controversy – in true ‘punk’ style – even though today’s controversies are played out in hashtags and broadsheet thinkpieces. Reducing posters, flyers and ripped leather trousers to a pile of smouldering ashes might be cathartic but it will mean literally nothing to those that resented or even feared the disruptive nature of the punk movement. It’s akin to setting fire to a collection of historic political pamphlets to protest a contemporary political view. The artistic power of destruction is strong, yet not always as meaningful as it first appears.


Other things. Monsters in Real Places / the adventures of Sue in Tibet / photorealistic paintings by Martin Wickstrom and Ralph Goings / reclaimed rulers by Rose Vickers / Tom Plants makes beautiful sketches / barn find gallery one and two / UK urban exploration photography by Andrew Marland, who focuses on the post-industrial north.

Posted in art, ephemera | Leave a comment

The Ides of March

Random things / city paintings by Alexander Pemberton / still life paintings by Barbara Kassel / the Oz archive (via) / ambient sounds and bands at Dream Catalogue / music from Breathless / ride on suitcase plagiarism suit / more anatomical toys / A Helpful Diagram / creativity splurge at Lost at E Minor / quality goods listed at Buy me Once / Brompton Cemetery holds a dimensional portal, perhaps / the good hand, a blog about architectural draftsmanship.

Posted in ephemera | Leave a comment

Six points

The book covers of Le Corbusier (with thanks to Alexis Orloff) / 1930 Bentley “Blue Train” Recreation / the ‘noble failure’ of Flaine, the first, and only, Brutalist ski resort / London Pubs, a series by illustrator Ben Lamb / a Lawrence Lee Magnuson update is always welcome / ‘Who is behind one of the biggest scams in history?’ The story of Maria Duval, the psychic charlatan.

Posted in art | Leave a comment

Visual culture, redux

The Mindblowing Special Effects Used On ‘Carol’ / Walk the Line, an edition of UnCube magazine devoted the art of drawing / Nick Cave: Stranger in a Strange Land, a documentary from 1987 / live music from GIRAFFES? GIRAFFES! / The Towner is an Italian online magazine, English version to follow / Turbo Killer, retro noirish, 70s-style synthwave video / in her prime, a tumblr (occasionally nsfw) / Stane Jagodic, artist (occasionally nsfw) / how to make Pixar-style Ratatouille / a visual survey of New York coffee cups. See also the world’s largest collection of coffee lids.

Posted in art | Leave a comment

Sound on sound

An exhaustive history of the origins of the Millennium Falcon / Gear Acquisition Syndrome / sort of related, the story of Townhouse Studios in London, at Phil’s Book, a site dedicated to chronicling recording studios around the UK / the incredibly sad Museum of Lost Objects / Chicago Nostalgia / Anish Kapoor gets exclusive use of Vantablack. None more black / a concrete aircraft carrier in China.

Posted in ephemera | Leave a comment

The fourth law

Some snippets / how real is the Atlas robot? / Mental Image, a weblog as ‘visual diary’ / the sonambient recordings of Harry Bertoia / Machine Books offer up condensed histories of architectural style / the World Fair for Church supplies, liturgical and ecclesiastical art, photographs by Louis de Belle / judgmental map of the Bay Area by cartographer Sasha Trubetskoy, via Quipsologies.

Posted in ephemera | Leave a comment

Armlocks and wrangled mustangs

The story, yet again, behind Atari’s infamous ET the Extra-Terrestrial game / the arcane detail of professional wrestling holds, e.g. the Stepover armlock camel clutch / building the Barbican / Zaha goes AOR on DiD / All the vertical landing jet aircraft in history / The Apocalypse will be televised / Present and Correct sells meticulously presented collections of meticulous things / discovering a stolen Sonic Youth guitar on eBay / the menace of the coffee pods / The 36-Hour War, or imagining apocalypse just a few months after WWII / Caterpillar smartphone with built in thermal imaging (by FLIR) / a useful device when reading Stories from the Woods / Today’s teens do X less than you think / Pencill is another ‘personal curation’ website, sort of Ffffound for the new era / The World of Little Things.

Posted in ephemera | Leave a comment