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weblog archives
eXTReMe Tracker
Monday, March 01, 2010
Is it really hip to be glum? Riffing on the insta-popularity of Unhappy Hipsters: 'US psychologists ... cropped pictures of models in ads so only their faces were visible, then asked people to rank them in order of mood. Overwhelmingly, models ­advertising pricier brands were judged to look glummer.' (pdf link: Facial Displays of Emotion in Folk vs. Elite Advertisements).

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Antonio Contador's 6=0 consists of six copies of Simon and Garfunkel's "The Sound of Silence". "The records were bought on ebay and never removed from their original envelopes and they never will. Each of the records will travel: from my house to each exhibitions place, from each exhibition location to another, to each envelope another one is added. Upon arrival the date is annotated and a photograph of each envelope is taken to be shown on the next exhibition." Showing at the CMCA

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The Most Popular Journal / iconism is not dead, including CCTV redux and OMA's design for a homage to Roger Hargreaves / The History of Philadelphia's Watersheds and Sewers / The First Word: A Dictionary of New Architecture / Binky the Doormat / Muriel Auclert Real Estate, modern houses for sale in France / Artur, contemporary architecture tours in Budapest / Big Lorry Blog / Styledeficit, a tumblr / illustration by Wells Brown.

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Thinking outside the bun: redesigning the hot dog ("If you were to take the best engineers in the world and asked them to design a perfect plug for a child's airway, you couldn't do better than a hot dog") / cruise back in time with the history of the Wienermobile / Inventory Updates, upscale, hyper-tasteful fashion blogging / yet another set of Penguin and Pelican book covers / Parr's ambivalent obsessions, Poynor on Parrworld: The Collection of Martin Parr. More images at we make money not art.

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Lost Landscapes of Detroit (via) / Traffic control in Pyongyang / post-earthquake in Chile - follow Platforma Arquitectura for information / Who here recycles? / Random Brand finds music videos, but not for a while / Come on Sugar, Let me Know, the standfirst says it all: 'This week, Giles Turnbull reaches out to the masses on Chatroulette for advice on sexiness, with horrifying consequences.' / Arcadia demade, retro-engineering modern video games / A magical miniature day in the life of NYC / The Tom and Jerry Censorship Comparison Guide / what's it like around the Watts?

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Wednesday, November 14, 2007


The Stir-Lec 1 was an Electric car that makes its own electricity. A General Motors concept study, this Opel Kadett had an early hybrid drive: electrically-driven wheels with batteries charged by a Stirling Engine (model versions here. Even Dean Kamen is getting into the technology). A short history of hybrids. According to commentators, the plug-in hybrid (PHEV) is far more of a solution than a plain old 'mild' hybrid, or even fancy dalliances with biofuels or hydrogen. We still miss the Ford Nucleon, the world's first (and only) nuclear-powered concept car. From Ford's site: 'The model featured a power capsule suspended between twin booms at the rear. The capsule, which would contain a radioactive core for motive power, would be easily interchangeable at the driver's option, according to performance needs and the distance to be traveled.'

If that sounded optimistic, consider the dream of Atomic powered flight that was tinkered with back in the mid 1940s, including 'the "sky-train" design, in which conventional airplanes used their engines only during takeoff and landing and were towed like gliders most of the way by immense nuclear planes that stayed aloft for weeks at a time, cruising the major air routes.' What was termed the Aircraft Nuclear Propulsion Programme (13.5mb PDF, hosted by the Federation of American Scientists) was hugely ambitious, and mind-bendingly expensive. Total cost of the 'Manned ANP program', which ran from 1946 through to 1961 were 1,040,355,000 dollars (page 110 of the pdf). Equivalent to 5.6 billion dollars today (related, names of large numbers at wikipedia / convert numbers into words). This page at Radiationworks puts the total cost at 7 billion dollars, noting that 'no aircraft ever flew under nuclear power.' However, the testbed, a converted B-36 bomber, bore a three mega-watt reactor. The plane had 'a 12 ton lead and rubber shielded crew compartment with 10-12 inch thick leaded-glass windows. Water pockets in the fuselage and behind the crew compartment also absorbed radiation.'

We might scoff at the apparent futility of these ventures, but at the time the potential of the atom lent itself to these globe-shrinking conceptual ideas, a world of floating cities, airborne colonies and perpetual, pollution-free travel. The popular steampunk genre (which we don't profess to know anything about) might conceivably be supplanted by something called atomicpunk, or such like. The fictional scope of a 50s or 60s-era world of perpetual, limitless energy evokes the relentless honing of planned obsolescence, the push-buttonisation of practically everything and the development of a listless class of atomic-powered global leisure-seekers. In short, you have something approaching the fantasies of a very real sector of self-alienated, ultra-wealthy consumer.

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The nascent vintage industry pool, via scrubbles, which also has the Syd Mead Project / Paris Changing, with Christopher Rauschenberg re-visiting the images of Eugene Atget (at tmn) / the museum drawing project, daily experiences of Pittsburgh museums. A project by Elizabeth Perry. See also her daily sketch site woolgathering.

Croydon gets the Alsop treatment. More images. Meanwhile, in Ian Martin's alternate reality, '[Alsop's] portfolio demonstrates how powerful a force Conservative Fabianism can be. Nearly every Tuscan hill town has been retrofitted to look like Doncaster, and the Alsop philosophy — life’s too short for anything fancier than two-up, two-down with a pitched roof — informs policymakers across Europe.'

BuzzImage is an FX house. A few making of showreels / Mr Magazine, on periodicals / Brand New, on corporate identity / a map of New Brainland, for the cover of Neuron magazine (via mymarkup) / Indy and Ink, 'the international society of independent publishers'. And there's a blog / The Canadian Design Resource, including an Expo 67 category (via ffffound).

Geoff in the Los Angeles Times, BLDG BLOG makes another stride forward into the big time. Check the current post on Bannerman's Island to see why / Zetetic Scholars, 'a fabulous time capsule of rejected knowledge' created by the late Marcello Truzzi in the 60s and 70s, focusing on the realities behind the paranormal phenomena that seemed to infuse those decades (via Strange Attractor).

Dreams of Flying, a photo series by the occasionally nsfw Jan von Holleben / inside Nissan's archive / the paper art of Helen Musselwhite / the Animated Gif Appreciation Society. Soon a preservation society will be needed for these disappearing objects / Voyages Extraordinaires, for those attracted to 'Victorian-Edwardian Scientific Romances and Retro-Futurism, Victoriana and Neo-Victorianism, Voyages Extraordinaires and Imperialist Adventure' and more.

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