31 October 2008

Graven Images

Err ... Ummm ...

Didn't we already do this bit? Something about Robert Moses being upset with Hank Aaron or something? Probably for wanting to hang out on his pristine Long Island beaches. I forget.

Jesus people pray that false idol will save Gods economy via boingboing.

This one's for Moo ...

Music by The Mothers.

Some Humor to End the Month

From eclectech.

Also:

30 October 2008

The Reassurance We Need

More realistic airplane safety directions.

Though you only get this version in first class.

Indigenous Design

# Josh Horowitz 5.9.08 / 9pm
Hi Leb, Diego,
Architecture is dead. A return to indigenous design is needed.

# amp 5.10.08 / 4pm
Josh - interesting proclamation. The only indigenous craft of the American people at this point in history is a tricked out myspace page. Can’t live in it - but it is work of the people, from the people and for the people.

An old quote just found in the comments section in Lebbeus Woods' blog back in May of 2008.

28 October 2008

Banyan Cafe

Something about Japanese cafes ... though I think the award winner is still "Red and Berry". If you don't get it, just the the words kick around in your head for a bit.

From Inhabitat.

Builds 25: Platform House

Some more of the platform house, now in its finished form:

It looks larger than it is in these pictures, or maybe, better put, as large as it really is. Due to the camera constraints of operating in a virtual world, buildings need to be about 50% larger than they would be in real life in order to look like they are to scale. So doors are no shorter than 3 meters and ceilings no less than 4 meters, otherwise the space feels cramped indeed.

27 October 2008

Talk to your machines

Now you can communicate with you kitchen appliances by sound, establishing a new and intimate communal relationship with them as you share in the noises they make.

Or maybe it's just art.

Kelly Dobson's Blendie.

Quote of the Day

Why does academic writing about architecture always have to sound as if it's been translated by a computer from the original Martian?
-- Robert Campbell

From the Boston Globe at boston.com.

26 October 2008

Everything Old

from xkcd

Builds 24: Skybox

Two more shots of my recent skybox, including the sales board for it.

By the way, since Second Life wants its uploads to be powers of 2, I have started formatting the images I load here to that size. Just in case I want to put them in SL too.

25 October 2008

Panopticon without Walls

The CCTV camera seems now to have absorbed and fulfilled the latest incarnation of this same tool of power in relation to architecture. The essence of which, however, rests on a similar collateral assumption: that people are perhaps more prone to being governed by the limits of power they fail to test than by those they successfully do, and are mostly made powerless by the disservice of their own imaginations, or lack thereof; a failure of autonomy.

An awesome article by Bryan Finoki on Subtopia. It asks many questions before morphing seamlessly into fiction, most darkly asking us in the end, do we need to be watched if we've been convinced to watch ourselves?

Inexpensive Celebrations

Full-moon viewing.

A time honored Chinese and Japanese tradition. The article sort of conflates the two cultures in the way it is written. But the recipes are easy and yummy.

Word of the Day

The word of the day is: horological.

24 October 2008

Animals Intermission

This video by minilogue has been making the blog rounds lately.

But it is well worth watching their other videos as well as looking at their site.

Quote of the Day

Those bent on "manufacturing consent" must first de-contextualize reality so the targets of the propaganda are shaken free from any mooring to reality. Then the propaganda invokes fight-or-flight emotions (fear) or triggers the defense of some base values.
-- Zeus Yiamouyiannis

From Of Two Minds by Charles Hugh Smith.

Most of the rest of the article is pretty awesome too. And yet it is just the introduction ...

Builds 23: Skybox

One of my pet peeves in Second Life is the skybox.

Not that I have anything against people who want to live up in the air, apparently harboring some illusion of privacy there. Rather the problem is that most skyboxes are just that, boxes. Usually just a normal ground dwelling house lifted up into the air, caught in a perpetual state of not falling.

So my most recent build, and probably what I will be working on for a bit, is skyboxes that look like they have every reason to be floating in the air.

This is my first one. It also makes a good place to dock my airship, which admittedly is bigger than it is.

23 October 2008

Tourists

Apparently, Dubai is very concerned about tourists acting like, well ... tourists.

From BBC World.

And a follow-up article.

Although I am all for respecting cultural traditions, problems arise when the host culture wants to both maintain their own culture and embrace a foreign culture in an attempt to redefine themselves. History has proven time and again, you don't get to pick and choose which elements you adopt, no matter how hard you try.

Of course, it probably doesn't help that the people trying to make money off Dubai are more interested in the money than in Dubai.

Museum of Tobacco Ads

A museum of tobacco advertisements from Stanford School of Medicine.

A slightly more somber one

Since I'm on a roll of animations here, a slightly darker one ...

22 October 2008

To Sue God

Someone has tried to sue god, apparently just to prove you can.

The court threw out the case until the plaintiff could produce a valid address for the defendant at which to serve them papers.

The article was not clear, but apparently the suit involves the fact that a compassionate, all-knowing, all-powerful being should be doing a better job of not inflicting pain and suffering on people.

Can you say addiction?

There's hardcore gaming and then there's people who need therapy ... or at least an intervention involving alcohol and a date.

What is real, or what really matters? The example image shows the World of Warcraft game setup bought and created by a player named “Bradster”. Living just a ‘Second Life’ was not enough, so he decided to live 36. His characters constitute a one-man army, giving him the challenge and power he obviously craves - paying $5,711 per year in subscription fees.

From NextNature.

A Bunny Animation

21 October 2008

Nicolae Chikadee

Now your birds can live like famous dictators.

From Creative Review via boingboing.

Word of the Day

Edupunk

Avoiding mainstream teaching tools like Powerpoint and Blackboard, edupunks bring the rebellious attitude and DIY ethos of '70s bands like the Clash to the classroom.
from Wired

For the teacher, every day is an exercise in punk.
Salon

A Gentlemen's Duel

20 October 2008

Then and Now

An article on the changing face of a slice of New York City from the New York Times.

However, it is not the article that is interesting. What is interesting is the cool and simple little tool for viewing the then and now pictures.

An iconography of what now?

Empty vessels: eye-con architecture from The Independent.

In its more grandiosely hubristic manifestations, iconic architecture seems indistinguishable from studio-lit tubes of because-you're-worth-it face cream: today's architectural icons are usually bizarre curios, or a manifestation of penile dementia.

Arts and Crafts

Some very nice architecture, as well as furniture, much of it for sale in Second Life. The furniture in the Stickley style. The architecture speaks for itself.

Color tweaked to show the detailing, versus the richness of the color. So excuse the slightly washed out look, all you Mac users.

I personally love the style in RL and the SL executions here are amazing good. The architecture is a little prim heavy, but the furniture usually does a good job while staying light on the prims.

I am also more of a fan of Roycroft than Stickley. I love the rough hewn slab wood nature of Roycroft work. Sort of thing both at home in a fancy hotel and a rustic cabin in the woods.

Zeugma Sim

19 October 2008

1870: Dateline Japan

Some interesting woodcuts from the 19th century news in Japan.

This particular set deals with ghosts and hauntings.

Via Pink Tentacle.

RiP: A Remix Manifesto

Woohoo, I say, woohoo!

In RiP: A remix manifesto, Web activist and filmmaker Brett Gaylor explores issues of copyright in the information age, mashing up the media landscape of the 20th century and shattering the wall between users and producers.

via boingboing

Quotable Quotes

Architecture must not be an object, but merely a device for the framing of life and the environment.

A Conversation with Kengo Kuma from FiveFootWay.

18 October 2008

Flock

Started playing with Flock recently.

In part because Opera, no matter how much I love it, has a tendency to bog and crash when using it for news feeds. Especially when you are following 100 different blogs and news sources.

Flock runs off the Mozilla engine and like SeaMonkey and Camino, seems to run much faster than Firefox, which all three are supposed to be built on top of. In fact, it seems both Firefox and Opera have become bloatware in their own right, hogging computer resources and grinding along far more slowly than anything else on my Mac.

So far, I am happy with Flock. It's integration is wonderful, though I still have to try posting to this blog for the built-in blogging tool that comes with it. Still, I have one click connectivity between my daily reading, this blog, my e-mail, and del.icio.us. If I want, I could expand that to include Digg, Facebook, Flickr, Pownce, Twitter, YouTube, Photobucket, Picasa, Piczo, and all the major blog services. It even has as menu-driven set up systems for creating connections with things it doesn't already automatically connect to.

So, yes, as you might expect from all that, the purpose of flock is to more seamlessly integrate technologies for a social Web, sometimes called Web 2.0, as if it were some strange irruption divorced from all that came before.

The only complaint I have about flock so far deals with its newsreader, which is what I am using it for. The reason I was using the Opera news reader until I got sick of bogs and crashes is that it serves the news reader through the mail reader. This gives you three window panes: folders, titles, and content. As with many mail readers, it allows you to filter and hide read items so you only see the unread ones, making it easier to see just how many new items there really are (yes, there is a number in the menu too, but seeing the items is so much clearer). You can, as with any mail, assign labels to important things, and create folders to move things into for future reference. Of course, it doesn't create local copies, so if the threads disappear from their online source you are left with titles that no longer link to content. But still, a very nice, effective way to read the feeds.

Even in its most condensed format, Flock doesn't really let you see more than six news items from a feed at a time, making it very hard to find unread articles you may have missed in a large list.

So, three things that would greatly improve the feed reading experience on flock:

  • The ability to switch to three pane, e-mail style reading, or at least the ability to condense all the way down to one headline per line for fast skimming. Even with the controls on s a separate line, two really tight lines would work just fine.
  • The ability to create folders in the "Saved Articles" list just like you can in the main articles list so that you can organize important things. Perhaps the point of omitting this is to actively encourage you to use del-icio.us for storage of interesing information.
  • The ability to filter / hide previously read articles while looking at new ones.

The only other complaint is that it seems to ignore all posts over 100 from any feed. Bad if you want everything. Good if you have a bit of OCD when it comes to reading the feeds, since it means you can never have a situation where you are now faced with hundreds of new items from one source because you've been busy or away for a while.

So summary: If you are a Web 2.0 person, Flock really seems to be the way to go. A little quirky, but not horribly so. And in the face of a few missing features you get many more in terms of drag and drop subscription tools and one-click connectivity between a whole array of online tools.

Muji now in NYC

I loved Muji when I was in Japan. A company of simplicity and elegance, and overpriced faux health food. Now they've crossed the pond: Muji USA.

Builds 22: Platform House

The interior of the platform house.

Cozy by SL standards, thanks to the wonders of default camera angles.

The fireplace in the middle needs to be replaced with a more traditional firepit. I was want to add some cabinets with sliding doors for traditional storage. I just have to figure out where to put them. Maybe I can will out one of the windows. This would also reduce disorientation inside, which is currently a little too symmetrical.

17 October 2008

Directions

Excuse me, but could you tell me the way to Tokyo? I have an appointment for stomping and destruction and I'm running a bit late.

Obama for Obama

Obama is going gaga over Obama.

Okay, this is sort of reminiscent of "Made in Usa". Which, by the way, is right next to Kanada. Well, almost right next to it.

The Secret Language of Surface

A short essay on the nature of surface from the good people at strange harvest.

16 October 2008

Branding

An interesting article on the idea of branding the boroughs of London for marketing, tourism, civic pride, and what have you.

The article is interesting because it compares the logos being proposed by the various boroughs of London with the cities and wards that form Tokyo.

The difference between the two is very striking.

The British logos are all very corporate, like the designers mistook the word "borough" for "hotel", or "bank" or "insurance firm". Certainly professional looking, but very much not warm and inviting. All in all, far too corporate for civic pride.

The Tokyo logos are much simpler, much more iconic. Each is primal shapes that may be abstract or may be historically significant done in bold, primary colors.

So, why this difference?

At first glance I think it is that Japan is simply more in touch with, and more comfortable with its feudal past. Combine this with a written language that is ideographic and the simple crests make sense. Certainly, on the battle fields of days gone by, when you saw a troop of soldiers rushing your position, you wanted to be able to tell at a glance whether they were friend or foe. So the Japanese infantry troops would have a sizable number of soldiers with banners identifying their allegiances.

The Tokyo city icons share the same easy to spot nature and, in fact, look very much like a Dover-edition book detailing of Japanese historical crests in my library. They are, admittedly, a bit more modernist, but the sentiment is there.

So why do we not see something similar with London? After all, Europe in general, during it's feudal period made heavy use of coats of arms. More complicated than the Japanese crests, but still distinctive. Is it perhaps the historical baggage that comes with coats of arms that prevents people from a.) wanting to co-opt them, and b.) wanting to re-invent them? I am not in a position to say. Though I can say that the Tokyo city logos work much better than the proposed London corporate city logos.

The use of crests in Japan extends way beyond the limits of Tokyo. In many regions, the iconic crests of towns and municipalities are posted on thruway exit signs, so you navigate by icon rather than reading the sign. Mind you, the drive between Kitakyushu and Fukuoka City has, if I remember, four different jolly fisherman and a multitude of herons to be dealt with.

When I was in Fukuoka City a few years ago, I found ward icons to be stamped on all the subway stations, including on the fare board. It made life very easy to know that I was traveling from the end of the line to the stop with the bird with its wings outstretched and sweeping forward to form a blue oval. It took far less time to recognize than to describe, and it meant I didn't have to try to resolve the kanji into a meaningful ward name.

Check out the map (English version):

The Japanese, simply put have the West beat on iconography. A good place to learn from them in making way-finding systems in the urban setting more friendly, as well as effective local branding.

Berlin in Second Life

Just to confuse the layers of virtual reference, Second Life New Berlin, a virtual reproduction of Berlin, has its own Web site.

I love it when the real and the virtual start to get intertwined in more and more interesting ways.

15 October 2008

Literally

Okay, I so don't have time to read boingboing, but it can be so worth it ...

The literal version of Take on Me from Current via boingboing.

Word of the Day

Psychogeography

See also:

And, of course, some psychogeographers:

Wait, that can't be right ...

14 October 2008

When Eating Becomes Art

If you aren't talking those cheap disposable things from Chinese restaurants, chopsticks, 箸 (hashi), can and should be really beautiful things. I know I buy them for beauty. I only regret that my set of jade ones broke last time I moved. Average age of my collection is ten or so years.

I remember my first week getting back from Japan and sitting down to a big bowl of veggie soup I had just made, with nice big chunks of veggies and some soba hidden underneath. I looked at the soup. I looked at the spoon in my hand. I looked at the soup. I wasn't sure of what to do next. I got up, went into the kitchen, and traded my spoon for some chopsticks.

By the way, the elegant, and expensive, ones often cheat a little for your benefit and mix some grit in with the enamel or lacquer, giving the tips a good solid grip on all but the slipperiest of pieces.

And you really just need to remember three rules when dealing with chopsticks:

  • Never stick them upright in anything, especially rice. It marks it as an offering to the dead.
  • Don't use them to point at people when talking. In this case, because it is just plain rude. It is rude with Western tableware too, but we seem to have forgotten that over time.
  • Don't give metal ones as gifts, except to friends who are Korean. (Okay, not sure about the Chinese on this one.) Giving a Japanese friend a gift of metal chopsticks is not too far off from complimenting a Korean friend on their kimchee. They'll understand you're an ignorant Westerner, but they'll still be slighted.

Anyway, the article on the store is via treehugger.

Word of the Day

Locavorism

From the NYTimes Magazine.

Builds 21: Platform House

Working on the modernist theme of the UFO house, I thought I would see what would happen if it was made with a bit of an Asian spin.

This is the result.

Yes, it looks and awful lot like the pavilion in the garden. There's a reason for that. Halfway through, before I had the walls up, I thought ... put on a canvas roof and this would make a great pavilion. I also have a scaled down version where there used to be a small open air tea house on my property. Which means there are no longer any structures on my property that weren't built by one of us (except my piet de'terre in my sandbox, which is an Effulgent Brown creation).

I may try for a more detailed one after this is done.

12 October 2008

怖い!

From LP Cover Lover.

Builds 20: Garden Additions

As well as the pavilion, I have added a few more features to the garden, so that the open field can be used as a performance space.

All those are some pretty tortured sculpties, I loved the campfire with the logs and just had to get one for the garden, even if it doesn't really fit the theme. Inconsistencies add flavor.

11 October 2008

Arcologies

I confess to growing up thinking arcologies were really cool.

I know I certainly felt compelled to dot Sim City with them. Has anyone besides me noticed the number of Blake's & references that were in that game? Anyway ...

More floating cities for your enjoyment.

From Vincent Callebaut Architectures.

McCain a Maverick? That's Gobbledygook!

The Mavericks get annoyed at McCain stealing their name.

Which means the word of the day is "gobbledygook".

Or is it?

And here I was planning on avoiding politics, but I really can't resist.

Chemistry Made Simple

And just in case you thought this sort of thing was a recent invention, thanks to the wonders of the Internet ... DNA transcription as interpretive dance.

10 October 2008

How Not to Be Seen

Examples of people failing at not being seen ... from failblog.

Hiding Place Fail
Anonymity Fail

And some people who are succeeding at not being seen.

Don't Mess with the Lab Coat

The McCain campaign seems intent on alienating constituencies one by one.

At first it was just the gamers. After all even those 8-some-odd million people who play World of Warcraft all look down on gamers, right? I lost the reference, but read an interesting article today where someone pointed out that the number of World of Warcraft players in the United States outnumbers the number of U.S. farmers, who get much more attention come the political season. On the other hand, a WoW server-farm failure only feels like the end of the world. So clearly not a constituency to worry about.

Now it is the scientists. Hmmm, mebbe an MSNBC blog is too liberal to be a fair source of information, right out there with the Huffington Post. How about Discover Magazine, they're unbiased ... I think. No? How about boingboing? Oh wait, that's British. Doesn't count. Oh, thank the gods, at least the National Review tries to artfully dodge the issue.

Though I think The Perfect Silence wins the best quotable quote award:

I can just about hear all the hushed "oooohhhs" from the science education community, like Dustin Diamond had just slapped Jack Lambert with a white glove. Oh no, he didn't!

Gamers and scientists do share two things in common:

  • Information spreads like wild fire within their respective communities.
  • They are very opinionated and vocal when it comes to protecting their turf.

You don't win an election by declaring constituencies to be irrelevant. You certainly don't win an election by saying that funding for science and education is not money well spent.

Builds 19: Waterfront Pavilion

I have added a nice waterfront pavilion to the garden in Pulu See.

It has a bit of an Asian theme, like the garden.

It still needs some furnishings, but I am not really sure what I want to do with it yet.

09 October 2008

Making Money

Stephen Barnwell

A truly awesome artist. The fact that I know him, or knew him in days gone by, has nothing to do with it. Honest.

Just ran into someone else blogging about his work and had to add it in here.

Here's his regular portfolio too.

The German Perspective

One of the online news sources I tend to follow is the German magazine Spiegel. In part because their English language edition does a wonderful job of covering American news from a position of relative safety, where they can comfortably say things American news services would shy away from. It is sort of their equivalent of Time of Newsweek, but with the occasional page 3 girl.

Anyway, for those really interested in a big picture view of the current state of the American economic crisis, unclouded by election politics: America Loses Its Dominant Economic Role and America: Where It Pays to Fail.

They are worth the read. Perhaps a little depressing and dark, and may insult some, but still worth the read.

Capital is as terrified of the absence of profit or a very small profit as nature is of a vacuum. With suitable profits, capital is awakened; with 10 percent, it can be used anywhere; with 20 percent, it becomes lively; with 50 percent, positively daring; with 100 percent, it will crush all human laws under its feet; and with 300 percent, there is no crime it is not willing to dare, even at the risk of the gallows.
- Karl Marx

Enel in Second Life

Enel, Italy's largest power company, has built a large information park in Second Life called Enelpark dealing with renewable energy. If you are in the second life habit, they are worth the look.

Besides the build, looking to be mostly by flopsie McArdle, is pretty awesome. I am so going to convert my sim over to solar and wind power. ;p

I just found this news item about them in treehugger.

For Those Not Up on Enel

Enel distributes and sells power and gas to more than 52 million customers in 22 countries in Europe, North America and Latin America. It has about 30,000 MW of renewable energy power generation capacity using hydro, geothermal, wind, solar and biomass.

08 October 2008

Bathtub

Some really cool recycled furnishings from the good people at the reestore.

The bathtub love seat definitely gets my vote. It looks so wonderfully comfy and snuggly, if a little cold against the back. Maybe if it was backed up against a good old-fashioned steam radiator ...

Farms as Aesthetics

Some interesting areal photos of farms around the world, as interesting in their juxtaposition as they are individually.

Though it would be interesting a telling to also see all of them at the same scale. As the last picture shows, some of the complex interweaving of fields are collectively the same size as a single one of the large industrial farm fields in the later pictures.

From build blog.

Also farm yard art from strange harvest.

Steampunkrock

The question then is where does the space go.

Abney Park

A band out of Seattle with the abstract touches of Rasputina about them, playing rock with a distinct folky steampunk flavor.

Although a difficult to navigate Flash-driven thing, their Web site is still beautiful to look at.

07 October 2008

City of Open Secrets

City of Open Secrets

An essay by Christopher DeWolf from urbanphoto.

The concept of “living heritage” is far from new, but it is still not widely understood. “Heritage is anything that carries memories,” said Dinu Bumbaru, policy director of Heritage Montreal, on a sunny morning this spring, shortly after I returned from my trip to Hong Kong. “We tend to look at buildings and then very quickly turn technical. We forget there is the know-how of the artisans, the story of the families who lived there and so on.” Vital, often intangible, heritage exists in the present, not as part of some nostalgic past.

Definitely a good read.

Dem Candidate Called "Wacky" For Suggesting People Walk or Ride Bikes

Funny, my doctor says the exact same thing. He must be pretty "quacky" then, right?

Anyway, from treehugger.

Fortaleza de Purden

Another odd little build that caught my eye.

A castle in a winter sim. It is a museum, built into the side of a hill, with the only ground access involving climbing up a few ropes. Like my post from yesterday morning, it is not a masterpiece, in fact, it is rather tacky, but it works in a wonderful way that makes it a nice place to amble about.

Both were found because I decided to walk (well, fly) home from a party instead of just teleporting. I wonder how much it would alter second life if we could have huge swaths that you had to walk through (and which had paths on which to walk). I wonder how many interesting places are going undiscovered because teleporting tend to reduce the serendipity of the random encounter with something unexpected.

Hmmm, now think about that question in the real world. Okay, so we can't teleport in the real world, so just replace teleport with drive ... it is not that different in some ways.

06 October 2008

Freakonomics in Suburbia

An interesting article on the future of suburbia from the New York Times.

It looks like it is front-loaded with the more radical, and humorous, commentary, then gets down to the more pragmatic analysis.

I remember being at a talk given by James Howard Kunstler once (who gets first rant in the article) as part of a Ph.D colloquium series. I found it interesting because many people seemed downright offended that he even had a right to make the claims that he did when he didn't have a degree in the topic. Yes, he was, as usual, talking about suburban form. No, the program was not in any way, shape or form and urban design program. Yes, the program prided itself on community outreach and community activism and participation. Apparently, that had to be qualified as obedient community participation.

I don't remember the outcome of someone making this protest, just at my being offended at people who claim to respect indigenous knowledge getting bent out of shape when actually faced with it. Apparently, indigenous knowledge is something to be used by authorities to further professional knowledge, but the gods forbid that it should become anything close to professional knowledge without their sanction.

This is probably why I like Kunstler's ideas so much. I think some of them border on nut job (to be fair, so do some of mine), but there are many kernels of inconvenient truth there that many of us don't want to have to face.

Is the Design of Cars Broken?

A chain of thought from the good people at thoughtwax.

Michelangelo’s David after his stay in the US

Okay, this is funny. Or maybe not.

Being a little pudgy myself, I can sympathize. That is pretty much what I feel like when traveling abroad. A little disconcerting when a Japanese friend says "we're only worried about your health" and then pokes you in the midriff. Poke, poke. Of course, the person who did it has discovered ice cream since then. I am avenged! Mwahaha!

From NextNature.net.

Loveland Shipping Center

I really don't know why, but I found this build in Loveland sim to be a very nice place to be in. The images don't do it credit. For being done in what should be a collection of cheezy textures with mostly empty stores and an odd sort of Italian-American Community Center feel about (or Polish-American, or what have you), the space was oddly pleasant to walk through. No idea of why.

05 October 2008

Censorship Made Silly

A music video creates humor out of censorship bars and provided ironic commentary at the same time.

Warning: YouTube thinks this contains mature content, which means, in this case, decidedly NSFW.

Quotable Quotes

All the ingredients were there, but they didnt look like the advertisement photos and they tasted like greasy sadness.

From blogadilla.com.

The Reverse Graffiti Project

Cleaning the world, one artwork at a time.

04 October 2008

Movement as Design

Speaking of movement as a driving factor in design, and much design as the act of congealing movement in solid form ...

Zaha's Shoes ... from bdonline.uk.

Slum Preservation

An argument for preserving slums when they clearly serve more good in maintaining them then the benefits of anything that could replace them.

Or to put it another way, just because a region is dirt poor doesn't mean it isn't a thriving, self-sufficient community that is making a positive contribution to the urban landscape.

This is in fact the kind of self-sufficient, self-sustaining 'village' community that Mahatma Gandhi -- the Father of the Nation -- dreamt of and wrote about in his books on India’s path to development.

Looks more like Kansas than Wales

Wales Springs Sim

An awesome job of using huge prims for wallpaper. Where does the sim end?

Yes, the photos were taken on or around Speak Like a Pirate Day, which is the reason for the outfit. Though I must confess to really liking it. And no, I haven't gotten the bunny to say "pieces of 8" yet.

03 October 2008

Stumbling Over the Bridge

An interesting article on the new Constitution Bridge over the Grand Canal in Venice from the Guardian.

Interesting because it shows what happen with aesthetics clash with simple usability (though I confess that in a situation like this I might opt for the aesthetics too).

Interesting in that is looks to be inspired by, or is at least evocative of, the Kintaikyo (錦帯橋) Bridge in Iwakuni (岩国) Japan (see also, Wikipedia entry). It's one of those must see destinations your friends in Japan drag you off to when you leave it up to them to decide where to explore.

The Kintaikyo Bridge shares the a comparable flaw, perhaps inevitable in an arched bridge of this style. It has relatively level top forming a short, shallow arc. This end, on either side, with steps of variable heights as the bridge becomes to steep for the level surface. And, it is also in a scenic location where it is far to easy to be watching the scenery and not your feet. Result, as you head back down the slope, you step off into space at the first step, oblivious to what your feet are doing.

Having done just that, I know.

And the complaint about the Constitution bridge? People twisting their ankles because they were too busy admiring the scenery to attend to their feet.

On the other hand, the Kintaikyo Bridge is a restoration of an older bridge on that site from 1673. At the time it was meant to balance functionality with elegance, providing the bridge between the town and the Shogun's estate. So perhaps it has better excuse to be difficult than a modernist piece of glass and steel designed specifically for the flow of tourists.

You Know You Want One

Full-scale, working model of a Roman siege catapult for sale.

I remember that episode!

Orbital

A unique build, in what passes for space in SL. Floating asteroids, orbiting planets, and orbiting avies too.

Mellow, ethereal, worth a visit.

In Shinda Sim.

02 October 2008

Car Locked

Case in point of letting our movement systems dictate our lives, even when we don't want them to.

Cities rethink wisdom of 50s-era parking standards from NPR.

For the Difficult Lifestyle

Reversible Destiny Lofts in Tokyo. For those who think the difficult lifestyle is important to a long and healthy life.

Okay, except that I don't know where I would put my books, I so would live there.

Arman Finesmith

And so he is.

Playing the best Ragtime guitar to be heard in SL ... well, okay, so far as I know, playing the only Ragtime guitar in SL. Correct me if I am wrong. I love Ragtime. So he is playing something I like and also doing something I haven't heard anyone else doing in SL. That's a double win. It helps that he's good too.

Give him a listen.

01 October 2008

Word of the Day: Ekranoplan

With fuel costs skyrocketing, and airlines hurting because of it ... maybe this should be the future of trans-oceanic flight.

An article from the BCC on the Soviet Ekranoplan, aka. The Caspian Sea Monster.

This is a salient quote:

What they were looking at was, in fact, an Ekranoplan; a wing in ground effect or WIG craft designed to fly at very high speed a few metres over the top of the sea. It sounds not unlike a hovercraft. But where a hovercraft floats on a skirt of air, the Ekranoplan sits clean above the surface and relies on a well known, if little understood aerodynamic phenomenon called "ground-effect".

In very simple terms the wing produces a dynamic cushion of air when it's close to the ground and the Ekranoplan effectively rides upon this. It's the same effect that pelicans use when flying low over the sea and it's a remarkably efficient way of flying, actually increasing lift by as much as 40%. All of which means the Ekranoplan was far more efficient than conventional aeroplanes.

Now, update the technologies to the modern day ... all the while thinking about a 40% increase in efficiency.

Sarah Palin Interview Generator

For those who can't reach her in person: the Sarah Palin interview generator.

Unfortunately, it only has two questions, though I have been assured that as soon as we understand those answers, more questions will be asked.

Cute Gone Wrong

Musical roads from the BBC.

What a wonderful idea! Let us never talk of it again.