Hong Kong’s favorite new resident, a giant inflatable duck, took a turn for the worse on Wednesday, looking less like an oversized lovable plaything and more like an unappetizing fried egg on the water.
The 16.5-meter (54 feet) inflatable sculpture mysteriously lost its mojo overnight, deflated and bobbed lifelessly in Victoria Harbour.
Archive for the 'Art' Category
According to the artist’s statement, “the house offers an ironical model of citizenship for future sustainable societies: the ‘Jane Fonda model of citizenship’” (the fitness celebrity whose initials the home bears) “which defines the ideal citizen as an individual who can satisfy all her domestic energy needs through her own bodily exercise.”
Not a chance in hell, unless we’re talking about a massively scaled-down lifestyle.
Other articles on the topic discuss this as supplying part of one’s energy needs through exercise, and that’s true, but as I’ve explained several times before in this space, it’s silly. Unless you’re going to do the exercise anyway and want to minimize wasting the output.
Trying to do all of the energy is a pipe dream. This is an art project, so it’s pretty clear that little consideration was given to the physics and biology of the matter, but it’s pretty simple: the maximum sustained power output of top athletes is around 500 Watts — that’s what Floyd Landis was able to do for ~4 hours for part of the Tour de France (and, remember, he was doping!) But the average customer in the US uses energy at a rate of around 1.3 kiloWatts, on average, over the course of the day.
Maybe, as the blog’s title says, you could keep the lights on. Especially with CFL or LED technology replacing incandescent lights, and you don’t need it especially bright, and you have the ability to cycle hard for an hour every day, perhaps you could store up the energy to run some lights. If you’re going at a 250 W rate, that’s enough to run a pair of 60W equivalent CFL bulbs for the evening (~5 hours’ worth). 250W of electricity production is around a kW of effort, because of the efficiency of our bodies, so you also gain in your heating bill…if it’s cold outside. If it’s warm, this is extra energy the air conditioner has to remove.
But doing this as a reason unto itself, look at the cost. That kw-hr of energy you burned up is 860 Calories of food, which is the intake of a decent-sized meal (or ~one bite shy of a quarter pounder® w/cheese and medium fries, if fast food makes for an easier conversion). Several dollars’ worth of eating for a dime’s worth of electricity. Just for the lights. There is neither an economic nor a sustainability justification for this.
There’s a reason humans went away from individual labor and used other animals and machinery driven by the sun, wind or stored sun (i.e. fossil fuels) as we grew our civilizations. Offering human power as a substitute is incredibly naive. Or, viewed another way, there’s a reason the world’s population was limited before we made these adoptions. What we do in modern society is energy intensive. Without machinery running on the sources of energy we’ve tapped into, we couldn’t come close to our current lifestyle.
Something I ran across last week was the so-called periodic elements of star wars ep. IV, V, and VI
It’s very pretty, and a lot of effort obviously went into the graphic presentation of it. However, that’s apparently where the effort stopped. What’s wrong with it?
It’s not periodic.
The periodic table has such power because of the similarity of properties and the trends one can identify — it was gaps in the layout that helped identify some of the elements. Those properties are completely missing on this table — any you might glean have got to be there purely by accident.
A truly periodic table might, for example, put all the Jedi into a column. All the droids into another. The pilot identifiers (Red/Gold/Rogue), too — they shouldn’t be in a row.
There are other tables out there like this — where the creators seemingly mistake “periodic” for “collection” or something like that. It is a table, and if you happen to have around a hundred names or so to put on it, you might think it would be clever to geek it up in this way. But when you actually want to represent it as or call it a periodic table, what you’ve shown is you weren’t paying attention in chemistry class.
Ah, machinery and then glassblowing. As a kid I went to the Corning glassworks several times and took the tour multiple times on each visit.
(1204 ºC = 2200 ºF, so there’s a little significant digit conversion problem that might catch your attention)
I started designing my own origami models while I was at university, with my first Star Wars model a simple X-Wing from the classic frog base, and once I found my niche, I never looked back.
I like action figures. I have a small collection of them. I’ve noticed that you can buy Albert Einstein figures, Nikola Tesla bobble-heads and The Simpsons even brought out a Stephen Hawking figure based on his appearance in an episode. However, I thought it’d be really cool if there was an entire series of them, based on all of the people who’ve contributed to our understanding of the world and the universe it sits in.
The figures are all based on Star Trek: TNG and Star Trek: DS9 figures (primarily Odo from DS9, and Picard as Dixon Hill from TNG), and have been heavily modified in Photoshop using Liquify and a great deal of digital painting. Unfortunately, the figures aren’t real. I wish they were.
From the vascular system to brain and lung models, Farlow and his team of ten construct borosilicate glass structures representing the inner workings of the human body. With the addition of some tinted liquid being pumped through the translucent and hollowed out figures, one can even simulate blood flow or the passage of oxygen, making them ideal for teaching and learning.
The Portland-based sculptor took over 1,000 hours over the course of two years to complete this 78-inch tall glass replica of the human skeleton. Unlike a normal model of a skeletal frame, this structure is built out of a series of carefully crafted borosilicate glass tubes that are illuminated like one large anatomically shaped neon light when ionized krypton enters the hollow, transparent figure.
For centuries it was thought that thin-film interference effects, such as those that cause oily pavements to reflect a rainbow of swirling colors, could not occur in opaque materials. Harvard physicists have now discovered that even very “lossy” thin films, if atomically thin, can be tailored to reflect a particular range of dramatic and vivid colors.
“… In this particular case there was almost a bias among engineers that if you’re using interference, the waves have to bounce many times, so the material had better be transparent. What Mikhail’s done—and it’s admittedly simple to calculate—is to show that if you use a light-absorbing film like germanium, much thinner than the wavelength of light, then you can still see large interference effects.”
The set includes four pieces:
Cantor fork :: now you can pin a single kiwi seed. Twice in a row.
Recursive spoon :: it will never let you spill a drop of soup. Ever.
Koch knife :: to delicately cut hair-thin slices out of an egg. A raw egg.
The Infinity Set :: the set includes itself. As a subset.
One keyword is “contest” so I don’t know if this is simply an artistic concept or a product that will appeal to the geek crowd. I want to use the Koch knife to cut a Möbius strip of bacon.