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weblog archives
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Monday, February 27, 2006
Japanoid are Canadian specialists in tiny Japanese cars / or get a Zest, a rudimentary new micro-car / impressive set of American National Archives films on Google Video. Includes NASA and newsreels / all about Julius and Friends' dream community of Julius-land at 30gms, a visual digest / the Tropolism flickr pool: hidden cityscapes.

Googleearthhacks explores locations and events relating to World War Two (via this Spanish article, via lpc). Compare Colditz Castle with the classic (and never-ending) board game. Related: all about U-boats - check the U118 washed ashore at Hastings / the Overend Sisters lived at Airfield House, just outside Dublin. Sisters Letitia and Naomi were famed for their love of fine motorcars.

The weblog of the Bartlett's Adaptive Architecture & Computation / Things are coming in threes: dance dance dance, a weblog / Spill Spill Spill, an architecture weblog. Makes sense to round-up a few more architecture weblogs (or even weblogs by architects, or those interested in architecture, etc., etc.) for easy access in the future: Inhabitat / Architectural Ruminations / Gravestmor / Dezain / Pruned / Archinect / Archidose / Life without buildings / BLDG BLOG / Triple Mint / Land + Living / Strange Harvest / Transfer / Tropolism / Brand Avenue / no, 2 self / pointing it / City of Sound. With all this lot around, who needs monographs? (especially ones with 34% off before they've even been published).

Thursday, February 23, 2006
Transport for London censors anagram Tube map (bb link, and more anagrams). One would have thought that TFL would have wised up to the cult status of the map by now and understood that the publicity gained by the distribution of such 'remixes' more than outweighs any potential copyright infringements.

No-one quite knows why the tube map has such a cult following. Geofftech helpfully collects all the map variations on one page, copyright be damned. Half of the user remixes are just that, reappropriating the diagram with new or altered information, be it musical, corporations, etc., all following in the spirit of artist Simon Patterson's The Great Bear (which has turned out to be one of the most influential artworks of the past decade). But there are plenty of 'hacks' that add another of information, geographical, technological, etc. Perhaps this is what riles TFL's information designers, who have been on an orgy of map-making in recent years.

There's a piece in the latest issue of Wired about fanatical lego fans and their contribution to reinventing a product that seems hopelessly mired in expensive license deals (Batman, Harry Potter, Star Wars, etc.) and products that are becoming more and more prescriptive in the ways they can be built. Then came Mindstorms, a kind of budget robotic kit of surprisingly complexity that has spurned a vast community of hackers, creating a 'culture of innovation' that Lego are now using to develop new products. Lego has a seriously devoted following (see Lugnet, amongst others), but is it to much of a stretch to expect transportation companies, for example, to tap into the enthusiasm of people who not only use their product on a regular basis, but also have the know-how to improve it?


Back to weekly updates again. We love Blade Rubber Stamps / Google maps bedtime version. Too busy to generate your own new memes? Catch up on everyone else's with Videosift. both via tmn / the secret codes of retail / things in a jar / the Toybaron collects vintage slot cars / this is a website dedicated to collectors of HO scale model railroad beer cars / Tony collects calculators. And he scans them to scale: Sinclair Scientific.

Functional Fate has a thing about the humble white plastic chair, which crops up just about everywhere. Our contribution: this amazing 80s penthouse in St James (on sale via Foxtons for a shade under £5m). It seems that however much money you have, Astroturf and white plastic chairs are still a winning combination / from the ridiculous to the sublime: some rather elegant treehouses (via tmn). See also architectural practice The AOC and their 'Folly for a Filmmaker'. You could also try hanging a Free Spirit Sphere, although you'll need access to some fairly hefty trees.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006
Quick round-up. We're certainly not, so it's lucky that this weblog proclaims i am fashion / Pete Doherty not real shock. Wonderful: if only this were true / sandstorms / mentioned a while back, London's Metropole Hotel may well be swept away / Blue Tea takes the trouble to detail Seven new Samorost-style games residing on the web. We like Castle.

A good group of Burtynsky's rather rustier Shipbreaking photos / the pMdM: le petit Musée des Marques / Film Score Monthly magazine / Flickr's window seat please pool / old views of the Barbican, part of Ludd's excellent urbanism photoset (via phil gyford).

Friday, February 17, 2006
Voitures volantes, 'Souvenirs d'un futur rêvé', an exhibition at Switzerland's Maison d'Ailleurs, the 'House Of Elsewhere', a 'Museum of science fiction, utopia and extraordinary journeys' (via lpc) / Glancey on the 'miniature world of Olivo Barbieri', the photographer who was briefly everywhere a few weeks ago (first in Metropolis, then Metafilter, etc., etc.,) / get an entire novel for free (Light, by C M Taylor) at Read Reverb, a site that claims to get writers read / revisited: High up in the trees, original artwork and ephemera, also points us to a nice collection of Agatha Christie first editions.

Living on Less, a weblog, which flags up Harper's wonderful extract from 'Everything We need to Know About Program Management, We Learned From Punk Rock, the US airforce at its best. You can get the relevant issue of Defence AT&L as a pdf (found via the Armchair Generalist). The guys who wrote it have a website right here, Rogue Project Leader. We count our blessings daily that we don't have to wade through Amazon's 166,862 results for 'leadership'.

Delving back into Yahoo's picks of 2001 (back in the days when people put the image size in kilobytes in the thumbnail caption): Ukranian bus shelters and the architecture of Albert Speer / PCL on Palm Springs Modern / Hugh Pearman goes behind the scenes at the Design Museum, not especially in-depth, it has to be said / things made from the hands of slaves / we can't get enough of posts like this: 'The Roofless Realm' / all hail the J-Marimba Ponies, most especially their version of 'Sabre Dance' (via music thing).

Dognapping, a rather old-fashioned sounding crime, is sadly rather prevalent in the modern city. Londoners, please help our friend find Little Boo.

Thursday, February 16, 2006
'In John They Trust', an article in the Smithsonian Magazine about the modern day 'John Frum' cargo cult (via Boing Boing). The accelerated rate of Western consumption, specifically military consumption, has created an extraordinarily skewed world view: 'At war's end, the U.S. military unwittingly enhanced the legend of their endless supply of cargo when they bulldozed tons of equipment - trucks, jeeps, aircraft engines, supplies - off the coast of Espiritu Santo. During six decades in the shallows, coral and sand have obscured much of the watery grave of war surplus, but snorkelers can still see tires, bulldozers and even full Coke bottles. The locals wryly named the place Million Dollar Point.'

That last link goes to a Cabinet Magazine article on the spot and Operation Roll-Up, the post-war 'clean up' program that was to provide a bizarre military-industrial-tropical aesthetic in CBS's Survivor Vanuatu. Before you condemn the dumping and destruction as a classic example of wasteful American behaviour, a similar post-war operation in the Solomon Islands was ruthlessly overseen by the British colonial government: 'Islanders held the British colonial government, not the American military, accountable for this destruction.'

Above all, the creation of Million Dollar Point unwittingly accelerated the growth of the cargo cult, a concept that pre-dated the military take-over of the South Pacific region in WW2 but which blossomed under the enormous financial investment into the area. The objects the US military imported have since become the focus of the islanders' veneration: 'In the same vein, all kinds of material objects and symbols of the American presence - from red wood crosses modeled on the Red Cross to marine hats - were adopted as religious paraphernalia, invested with meaning that seemed strangely independent of, yet intimately connected to, their original purposes.'

See also Thurston Clarke's book Searching for Crusoe: A Journey Among the Last Real Islands and the extensive Pacific Wreck Database website, which has a page on Vanuatu and images of Million Dollar Point.

Other things. Cinema Treasures, preserving classic cinemas. You can search cinema designs by architecture firm - very helpful - like the Harry Weedon Partnership, creators of the magnificent Odeon Leicester Square / tinselman, a weblog / we have another letter from London at tmn, this time rather grumpier / a List of motorways in the United Kingdom / depressing: 'Mr Pownall asked: "It isn't every day that someone confesses to a murder on a park bench, is it?" She replied: "It is in Peckham."' / captures thumbs of well-known websites, but not this one.

Whatever happened to screensavers? Are we all doing so much more work that we have no time for them? A few years back there was a brief trend for screensavers that beavered away at giant datasets, networked computing projects like SETI at home (and other BOINC-powered projects (Berkeley Open Infrastructure for Network Computing). The BBC are now collaborating with the Climate Prediction website. More information here, along with a map of current users.

Honda's Cog has nothing on this, a Rube Goldberg machine of extravagant complexity built in Half Life 2 / we still get a fair few links pushed through from this Hoax Museum entry on the Mini Cooper Autonomous Robot, a nice little piece of viral marketing that captured people's imaginations (and fooled a surprising number of people). Since then, there's been Citroen's dancing C4 advert, beautifully rendered and styled. Now comes a real transformer, albeit a small one / what's in your bag?.

For some reason our recent domain name outage also magicked away the two new galleries of Kevin Saidler's photographic series, 'Bulldozing Belgium'. Worth re-visiting.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006
Apologies for the recent radio silence. That's what happens when you forget to renew your domain name. To make up for it, here's a very random collection, much of which will be familiar to the more regular link weblog browsers among you.

Pruned on the Hill of Crosses near Siauliai, Lithuania, an extraordinary collection of religious iconography that has totally overwhelmed the land, creating a new topography of its own / BLDG BLOG's Geoff Manaugh was on Resonance FM's curiously-named 'Slow Small Peasants' show last week: mp3 archived here. See also BLDG BLOG on Africa's ancient astronomical history, ' The eclipse is a lion with its tail around the sun' (and some eighteenth century astral diagrams). This reminded us of the Dogon people of Mali, who were a staple feature of 1970s UFO books as well as the Reader's Digest giant book of Myths and Legends (a personal favourite for many years until my mother threw it out because 'it frightened her'). The Dogon's mythology is wonderfully Lovecraftian, and tells of a mysterious race of 'ugly, amphibious beings that resembled mermen and mermaids' called the Nommo.

In the 1940s, two French anthropologists delved into Dogon mythology, and were told that the Nommo 'were inhabitants of a world circling the star Sirius', a world unfamiliar to astronomers of the day, before eventually Sirius B was discovered in 1970. This was the stuff of schlocky paperback publishers' dreams and in 1977 a book called The Sirius Mystery duly appeared (and is still available), claiming that Dogon astronomical knowledge had been handed down by none other than aliens themselves, and that there were striking parallels between alleged Nommo history and early Christian history. UFOlogists love this stuff, almost as much as sceptics like to debunk it (with James Oberg being prominent in the latter camp).

The 'ancient astronaut' argument is now so retro is has the same vintage hue as brown carpets or textured wallpaper. That famous hack and theme park owner Erich von Daniken has built a career on misinterpeting such things in a series of lurid books and while we'd love to visit Mystery Park as much as the next person, the main lesson that can be gleaned from the 'controversy' is that ideas and knowledge has always enjoyed swift cross-cultural transference. Even in the inter-war period, information was travelling around the globe and being incorporated into oral histories far faster than any anthropologist could track.


Other things. Olympus History, a well-presented collection. We have an OM-2 kicking about somewhere. See also the Olympus Inheritance exhibition, where name photographers use digital SLRs (thanks, Neil) / watch the Million Dollar Homepage fill up with this (enormous) animated gif (via jk) / Noah Kalina's Interiors photoblog / art by Matta / there's a new issue of AW Zine out and about / John's Nautical and Boat Links, an enormous resource. The history pages alone are worth a browse: the Falmouth Packet Archives, 1688-1850 / painstakingly long 1989 Batmobile recreation.

Adam Nicholson on Dubai, an economic powerhouse that is funding an architectural zoo: 'More than seven million containers are moved here in the course of the year, a figure that grew 23% last year, and is set to triple within the next six years, serving a market of two billion people.' / Yemen, 'architecture and landscapes' / trees taking over, a temple in Angkor, Cambodia / recent Saab posters. Interesting how the company should try to spin out a Bauhaus association for the Australian market, because in Europe that particular assocation is pretty much owned by Audi (thanks to some cunning marketing). Although any such link is rather disingenuous at best, word has it that the next few generations of German cars will increasingly hark back to the pronounced wheelarches and prominent radiator styling of pre-war cars. You can see this emerging, as if from a cultural chrysalis.

We like this rabbit incense burner, on sale at de Vera objects. Thanks to Pam, whose weblog Phantasmaphile is rich with imagery and insight. Check the post on Cabinets of Curiosities / deep end dining is a hardcore gastro blog, including an amusing tale of stunt bug eating on the set of CSI:NY / excellent me-fi post on Kevin Brownlow and Andrew Mollo's It Happened Here / Ragged Words, 'independent music views and reviews'.

Seen everywhere and fast expanding, the flickr high dynamic range group. A bit more information, via ask me-fi. The aesthetic reminds us of the blue skies, billowing clouds and verdant landscapes of aviation art / Geograph British Isles - photograph every grid square (via haddock) / the anagram pub team (via bb) / it seems timely to link this collection of cigarette pack graphics at designboom. Related: 'gaining an understanding of the role of pack design in tobacco marketing.'

Clearly not a lot to do in Yorkshire / yet more virtual sightseeing with Ogle Earth / thanks to Richard May for the link to the Lascivious Playing Card Project, a very 70s concept that's been taken up by the likes of Agent Provocateur in recent years. May has some of his own work at 4WALL, the illustration gallery within South London's Menier Chocolate Factory.

Origami architecture greetings cards / (via excitement machine). Has a nice gallery and an attempt to locate all the 'old-style photobooths' still in existence / Forever Drowing is an archive of media by The Cure / Rolling windows, neat little applet / the photography of Jacques Crenn.

Thursday, February 09, 2006
Tessellations by Seth Fisher, animation of alphabet evolution (.gif), both via occult design. Tessellations also makes a nice google image search / Origamic Architecture, via fawn jotters, who also point us to the Museum of Coathangers. It's too early in the morning to discern how serious it all is, but it appears wonderfully comprehensive: the wd-100a / also from fj, Lost in Books, an exhibit at The Israeli Museum (originally via Neatorama) / nature photography by Darylne A.Murawaski, including the chilling Parasites series.

Writers chose their favourite mp3s at Moistworks / art, photography and collage at Oum / Show and Tell is the weblog of House Industries / The Casio SK series of sampling keyboards have a cult following. A website by Tony Mason / The Human Museum / art links at Canessa Park / the Proceedings of the Athanasius Kircher Society: 'Our interests extend to the wondrous, the singular, the esoteric, the obsessive, the arcane, and the sometimes hazy frontier between the plausible and the implausible'. One of their links is High Wycombe's world of wonders, the Grand Illusions shop.

Tyler Potts' 52 Songs experiment is a 'song a week for a year' / the Kunstverein Munchen / B******* to Architecture, a nicely irreverent UK-focused architecture weblog / more architecture at Javlog / 'Print reporters: steal this template for your next story on virtual worlds / photos by Iraqi Civilians, an exhibition at PixelPress. Daylight Magazine, new photography / what is the value of old money? / The Thought Project by Simon Hoegsberg Sense of the City is a new exhibition at the Canadian Centre for Architecture.

A few stitch and bitch links: Whip up, the Readymade blog, Merwing, get crafty, Craftster, Etsy, Karin's Style Blog. See also tie one on, a weblog about aprons. The days of the week are getting pretty busy, what with Self Portrait Tuesday and Illustration Friday.

We've abandoned our daily photograph for a bit while the image banks are re-stocked. For the next few weeks, all thumbnails at right will come from our extensive projects archive. We'll kick off with Bulldozing Belgium, a collection of photographs by Kevin Saidler.

Many congratulations to i like on the new arrival.

Monday, February 06, 2006
The Proceedings of the Old Bailey, London 1674 to 1834 now contains details of a startling 101,102 trials. Navigate by map to find out what locations were cited in trials / Robert Hooke's Micrographia, 1665 / Adam Richardson writes on information design, objects and more, and has an eye for an elegant automobile / jones is dying, a weblog.

An eccentric collection of Ideal Human Powered Vehicles, with numerous wheel arrangements. Includes the Peugeot Moovie, which we didn't think was strictly human-powered, and a link to the 'extreme machine' makers Atomic Zombie (embedded heavy metal) / the tube of music - who's connected to what? (via jk) / libre comme un poney sauvage, le blog de Lisa Mandel. Cartoons / La Boite a Images (accents missing, sorry). links to photo portfolios. We're big fans of Christopher Griffiths' close-up views, but Benedikt Hotze's work is new to us, especially his views of modernist Rome.

ZX Spectrum Game Walkthrough videos: exactly what it says. Try Spectaculator if you want to relive these moments for yourself. Check the screenshots / more famous breakages, following the Fitzwilliam's Qing dynasty incident (the perpetrator of which was on the radio yesterday sounding remarkably arrogant and unrepentant about the whole thing) / combining Google Earth with in-car navigation systems to get 3D maps on the dashboard. Coming soon.

Soviet moon images at Don Mitchell's Mental Landscape / how the Computer can help the designer, an article from the New Scientist of 1964, loving scanned at City of Sound / lightbox is a nice little script for dealing with embedded photos. By Huddle Together / Interconnected on Animal Crossing / Ishbadiddle: An occasional report on ephemeral things. Links include this Digital Atlas of New York and a welcome return to the same scale subway systems maps / the great pea-souper of 1952 / aircraft graveyard / Tuxpaint, a drawing programme for children / the McDonald's video game, via joystiq. Anti-burger. All my cows died and no customers came.

Apologies to Jennifer at Architecture magazine - our reply bounced back. But in answer to your question, we're really, really hoping to have a print issue ready for some time in the summer. 'things' tends to be put out when it's ready, and schedules are very adhoc. There's a (very intermittent) mailing list for updates.

Friday, February 03, 2006
Alice Rawsthorne is to leave the Design Museum, which in turn might leave its original site. Meanwhile, the museum's status as the keeper of the Modernist flame (capital 'M') is very much under threat. The V&A's new exhibition on Modernism is an attempt to to rehabilitate modernism's idealism and contemporary validity. Perhaps this will result in a more fluid, flexible history, rather than the Design Museum's increasingly archaic study collection. In the Observer, Deyan Sudjic describes Modernism as 'the idea that just won't go away,' citing Britain's 'illogical' but relentless simultaneous pursuit of nostaglia and technology. Architecture rarely benefits from such schizophrenic tastes.

Impressive photographs by Richard Mosse. We especially like the series 'Phenomena' and Gulf. There is also stunning imagery from post-earthquake Iran and post-war Bosnia. The site design is unashamedly inspired by (which continues to stun), and there are also links to a few other photo/culture sites, some of which we may have noted before: Trendbeheer, Happy Famous Artists ('bad art for bad people'), 3rd Effect, re-title, Photodebut, Seesaw Magazine, which has a set of Edward Burtynsky's China photographs, and the excellent Polar Inertia.

Check the series on Strip Coal Mining in Eastern Kentucky. The new industrialisation is all around us, on a mammoth scale, yet it seems that only fine art photographers are taking any notice. The rest of us just sleepwalk while our worlds are created in the vast yet unseen backrooms and workshops on the other side of the world, strange landscapes that will ultimately, inevitably, impact upon us all.

Manchester's oldest building, the Wellington Inn, is also one of the most-travelled buildings in England, shifted around the city centre not once but twice. W.Randolf Hearst used to buy whole buildings, ship them out to the States and then promptly forget about them. At one point he owned a crated-up European monastery on both coasts of the USA: 'Santa Maria de Ovila was a classic white elephant. It took up 28,000 square feet of warehouse and was totally useless.' A few of the stones have been given a New Age lease of life in San Francisco, while others languish in Golden Gate Park.

Leave it to the Americans to dig up our historic sea mammals: The London whale of 1658 / Tunnels in the desert, BLDBLOG on the Libayn man-made river. Thanks too for the mention in this gridskipper interview. We agree wholeheartedly with the idea that blogging has 'become a form of self-obsessed product-hunting. High school meets the home-shopping network.' / the newsmap / urban design Hall of Shame / a pro-tennis player is 'swapping his tennis racket for a railgun' and trying to become a leading cyber athelete / photos at Lies and Half Truths.

Daniel Nordling spots trains, adding yet more megabytes of random historical data to the network / how to Hack your Hybrid at Treehugger / time to re-visit Aspen magazine / British Blogs is a new aggregator site. Not much shopping, but rather a lot of politics / FLIPBOOK!, via rotational / download Legal Torrents / photography from Hong Kong / the resolution isn't great, but as requested, here's the Chittagong yard in Google Earth (thanks, rg).

Wednesday, February 01, 2006
Charts, diagrams, information graphics by Karl Hartig, via Sachs. Karl also has a thing for Geodesic Domes, once the architectural symbol of the world of tomorrow, when encasing the world seemed like the best option. That last image came from Fabio Femino's vast SF archive, chaotically organised by stuffed full of imagery by the likes of Chesley Bonestell and Robert McCall. There are links to other like-minded artists and collectors, including artist Frank Wu's gallery of the work of Frank R. Paul, who worked between the wars. 'FRP's style shows his architectural training; his cities and technology are lovingly detailed, his aliens well thought out and plausible, but his human figures stiff and simplistic.' (if you like this kind of stuff enough to put up a website about it, you're usually into something else that's equally obscure. For example, Mr Wu likes kitsch America).

Who are the WaBenzi? 'Kenya's government has spent more than $12m on new cars since 2002' / a collection of Tatra videos / how Rothko's Seagram murals found their way to London / related, a nice open directory of modern art / Song Dong builds cities of biscuits. More in this Guardian article. See also Elizabeth Hickok's San Francisco in Jell-O / an off-shoot of Archinect and BLDG BLOG, Subtopia: A Field Guide to Military Urbanism begs further investigation. Geoff also draws our attention to Kazys Varnelis's epic Centripetal City, 'Telecommunications, the Internet, and the Shaping of the Modern Urban Environment', which was published in the much-better-organised-than-we-are Cabinet Magazine (issue 17, Spring 2004/2005).

The Unclaimed Baggage Center: 'lost treasures from around the world'. There is something pleasing about old luggage, and Vintage Labels have long been sought-after (although that particular site is no longer maintained. Speaking of which, it's good to see the original ghost sites is still going strong) / Google in China? Snarky / interior illusions / a couple of links snared from kottke: Averaging Gradius and this collection of Space Shuttle disaster headlines from 1986.

Thanks to Bryan for alerting us to the terrifying world of dB racing, 'the fight to build the world's most powerful sound system'. Open to everyone. The 'sport', dB drag racing / The Science Creative Quarterly / retro band site for The Raconteurs / quirks in Google Earth. The Lancaster Bomber is a good one, albeit a little unlikely looking / handy: freelance fee guide / old UK electrical adverts, via BB. Also linked, 'My Family's Dune Buggies Over the Years: 50's, 60's, 70's' / the slanket is a blanket for people who really like kicking back (via plasticbag). In fact, 'slanket' would make a good word for a lazy, sofa-bound person.

What happens if you open up comments totally - you become a dedicated comment gardener / a celebrated place for photographers, the Bangladeshi ship-breaking yards. Anyone tracked this place down on Google Earth yet? / the internet has turned us into a world of toy collectors, allowing the endless revisiting of a perfectly-imagined childhood. Example: Hi-Fructose, a 'toysploitation' magazine devoted to adult collectables / Edmund Rumpler's streamlined Tropfenwagen, a 1920s take on the new science of aerodynamics. The packaging is especially neat.