Saturday, 18 December 2010

Futuristic Desktop: 3D Multi-Touch Computer + Desk Design

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Futuristic Desktop: 3D Multi-Touch Computer + Desk Design: [ Filed under More or in the Gadgets & Tech category ]

Imagine a computer without mice, keyboards or controls – but more powerful and versatile than a small pad or tablet device. Drag-and-drop takes on a new meaning when it comes to this prototype workstation. Vertical displays and horizontal interfaces are radically reconsidered – ideas about pencils, pens, paper, mice and documents both digital and physical are creatively revisited.

The German Media Computing Group points out that it is difficult to move documents lying on our desks to the screens in front of us, and most of us still use different devices to annotate items digitally and physically (e.g. mice and keyboards versus pens or pencils).

Through a simple curved shape and hybrid functionality, the BendDesk seeks the bridge various user interface gaps that are as much a byproduct of incremental design and accidental adaptation as anything.

The concept is rather difficult to explain in writing, so watching the video may be your best bet – it shows the inner workings of this draft version, from hidden projectors and cameras to strips of LED lights. Notice that there is a great deal of variability to be had when one starts to work with bends – the curved area can become a task bar during a photo-sorting operation, or part of a larger screen when standing and playing a game.

12 Weird Animals And Unearthly Creatures

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12 Weird Animals And Unearthly Creatures: [ By Marc in Animals & Habitats, Nature & Ecosystems. ]

Gross looking creatures and creepy crawlies hold a certain fascination. It’s hard not to be interested in creatures that evolved on the same planet, but in such unusual ways. From the mundane ugly Condor to the creepiest monsters from the ocean floor, take a look at some of the world’s most unusual beasts.

(Images via boingboing, geekologie)

The last seen snub-nosed monkey was killed and later eaten, but hopefully it wasn’t the last of its kind. Villagers claim these monkeys sneeze when it begins to rain because of their unusual noses. At the current rate, these animals will be extinct within a few years, if they aren’t already.

(Images via 3limes, sonik, paraparadisezooeng)

The Shoebill is a stork-like bird with a very interesting and endearing face. Its large, mottled, bill gives it a distinctive appearance that is not so much attractive as… interesting.

(Images via boingboing, damncoolpics, coachella, djibnet, seaslugforum)

The ocean still holds many secrets, and here are a few examples. Pictured above are a species of furry crab, the aptly named sea pig, the dumbo octopus, a type of sea slug, and a colorful sea urchin. Be glad these animals are confined to the ocean, as they would not be welcome into most homes.

(Images via endlessjrny, jokewallpaper, twistedsifter)

The giant isopod is a deep sea creature found in the cold depths of the atlantic. They can grow up to 14 inches long, nearly three times the length of their normal sized relatives. Like a mix between a crab and a millipede, these terrifying creatures are a blast from the Earth’s past.

(Images via 2pat, discovery, calitreview, thedigitalbean)

The condor is well known for its large wing span (up to 10 feet) and overall size (up to 54 inches, beak to tail). The ugly mug of the California Condor is put to shame by the graceful looking face of its larger relative, the Andean Condor.

(Images via mickhartley, koreatimes, malsawmi)

The tube nosed fruit bat is cute in a very strange way. It’s named after its extremely odd protruding nose. These wacky looking creatures come in a broad variety of shapes and sizes, with new sub species being discovered to this day.

(Images via mrreid, residesi)

The Ajolote and the Armadillo have front digging claws, and a scaly, reptilian appearance in common. Both animals are very unusual in appearance and have an insatiable desire to eat bugs. These armored monsters definitely top the list of odd branches in evolution.

Whatever Floats Your… House: 16 Amazing House Boats

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Whatever Floats Your… House: 16 Amazing House Boats: [ By Marc in Architecture & Design, Furniture & Interiors, Travel & Places. ]

House boats used to be glorified barges with a bathroom and a place to sleep. More recently, house boats have turned into residences of the wealthy. With as many comforts as a modern home, and a much more interesting address, house boat design has become something beautiful and breathtaking. It makes one wish their house could float.

(Images via samsantravels, allempires, desicolours, armchairtravelogue)

Even the most rustic looking house boats can come fully air conditioned, no matter how rural ones backwater travels might take them. India has a surprisingly robust house boat tourist industry, so it’s a definite must see destination for anyone who has dreamed of boating in total comfort.

(Images via designsquish, jetsongreen)

Some house boats try to maintain a lawn… by covering their roof with plant life. Grass is actually a great insulator, and adds a natural touch to an otherwise entirely artificial residence.

(Images via buttsclermonthouseboat, thrusterman, newhouseofart, 101boatdock, sumerset)

Luxurious, land based, accommodations are now available on the water. House boat technology has increased by leaps and bounds (and so has cost), with many boats costing hundreds of thousands of dollars.

(Images via reevn, likepage, reevn)

If houses can be built on water, it makes sense that a boat can be built on land. This gorgeous home looks like it could sail off during a heavy rain, but it’s doubtful it would make it very far. Perfect for the landlubber with dreams of being the captain of a ship, or the retired pirate, this house has an awesome aesthetic.

(Images via franksquirejr, willc, laceandtea, orion1230, designshoot)

Fully sized houses are now available on the water. They may not be as mobile as one hopes, but the land is cheap (though nonexistent). If someone is into boating and wants to keep their boats in the backyard, this is the perfect solution.

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Rock Steady: The World’s 10 Most Amazing Balanced Stones

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Rock Steady: The World’s 10 Most Amazing Balanced Stones: [ By Steve in 7 Wonders Series, Geography & Travel, History & Trivia. ]

Earth may be one of the most geologically active planets in the solar system, but don’t tell that to these 10 brazenly oblivious balanced stones. Poised between inertial stability and the relentless force of gravity, these rock-steady rocks maintain a precarious balance between soil and sky.

Balanced Rock, Colorado, USA

(images via: Suhafuha, World Is Round, Bagel! and Transformations and Whispers)

The huge balanced rock known as, er, Balanced Rock can be found in the Garden of the Gods, a Registered National Natural Landmark located near Pike’s Peak in Colorado Springs, Colorado. The rock looms over a paved access road that provides an excellent view – hopefully, not the last view an unlucky driver ever sees.

(image via: BamaWester)

The photo above highlights the layers of sandstone that make up Balanced Rock while accentuating the narrow base that has weathered away over the eons, partially freeing the boulder of harder red sandstone from its imprisoning matrix of softer stone.

Balancing Rock, Digby, Nova Scotia, Canada

(images via: Joanpopular, Nova Scotia Blogs and Welcome To Nova Scotia)

Balancing Rock in Digby, Nova Scotia, is a 30-odd foot high spire of columnar basalt that has gradually eroded out from the cliff face over countless years. The town of Digby has lately built an infrastructure of railings and walkways so that access to this striking phenomenon of nature is now much safer – both for tourists and for the rock itself.

(image via: Archer10)

According to Wally Hayes, a first-time visitor to Balancing Rock, “I was even more awestruck when I approached for a closer view and could look under the rock through a narrow horizontal crack and see the ocean beyond. The rock column didn’t appear to have much attachment to base rock on which it stood. Not only that, part of the base protruded out from the supporting rock. It looked like a pencil standing upright, half on and half off the edge of a table top. But this was not pencil, rather many tons of solid rock.”

Idol Rock, Brimham Moor, North Yorkshire, UK

(images via: Armchair Travelogue, Tj.Blackwell and The Pilgrim Club)

A number of oddly shaped and curiously balanced rocks dot a 50-acre expanse of Brimham Moor in North Yorkshire, England. One of the most outstanding – from a balanced rock point of view – is the so-called Idol Rock. Estimated to weight around 200 tons, Idol Rock balances its enormous weight atop a comparatively tiny, pyramidal stone upon which frighteningly high pressures are being expended.

(image via: Deputy Dog)

Idol Rock and its companion Brimham Rocks, which include The Sphinx, The Watchdog, The Camel, The Turtle, and The Dancing Bear, can be viewed at the Nidderdale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The UK’s National Trust oversees the area and admittance is free.

El Torcal de Antequera, Andalucia, Spain

(images via: Pixelhut, Spain Online and

El Torcal Nature Reserve, situated in the mountains south of Antequera, Spain, features a plethora of karst limestone rock formations that typically feature tall, tapering spires of rock combined with horizontal weathering patterns. The result of this combination is often expressed in huge “flapjack stacks” that are actually more stable than they appear.

(image via: Graphix 1)

The karst stone towers of El Torcal de Antequera have evolved terraces of limestone over which tourists can ascend like stairs in order to get up close & personal with the rocks. Climbing further is NOT recommended, however – Darwin has provided enough examples in the reserve without your becoming another one!

Kjeragbolten, Norway

(images via: Armchair Travelogue, and Diamir8000)

Kjeragbolten is a 5 square meter (roughly 15 sq ft) rock that his wedged itself in a crevasse between two gigantic rocks on Kjerag mountain, Norway. It’s not your typical, top-heavy balanced rock by any means but that’s not to say that Kjeragbolten is at perfect rest – just ask Aron Ralston, whose arm was trapped by a similarly wedged boulder in Utah’s Blue John Canyon, requiring him to take desperate measures to free himself.

(image via: Vacation Ideas)

Unlike Ralston’s nemesis in an underground canyon, Kjeragbolten is lodged high up on Kjerag. How high? Those who are brave enough to walk across the boulder (and yes, this is allowed) can easily view the valley floor about 1,000 meters (over 3,000 feet) below. For sheepish hikers especially, the admonition “don’t look down” was never so appropriate.

Peyro Clabado, Sidobre, France

(images via: Notes From A Broad, L’Ardoise Magique de Christineee and Hiramabi)

Peyro Clabado (Nailed Rock) is perhaps the most famous of the many enormous, eroded granite boulders and rock formations that make up the Sidobre in Languedoc, France. The rocks are all that remain of a 300 million year old mountain range that loomed over what was to become western Europe. Today, isolated outcrops loom over intrepid visitors who have hopefully updated their wills before visiting.

(image via: TechniPIERRE)

As hard and dense as granite may be, given enough time even the hardest specimens will be reduced to sand and sediment. Peyro Clabado is on its way to that fate, but for a brief moment in geological time we’re privileged to observe this 780-ton rock perform an exquisitely delicate balancing act.

Mushroom Rocks, Kansas, USA

(images via: All The Pages Are My Days, Space Weather and Sarah/RoadTrip2007)

Mushroom Rock State Park, located in the Smoky Hills region of Kansas, may only be 5 acres in size but it holds some of the oddest balancing rocks on Earth… and yes, a couple of them do indeed resemble mushrooms. Very, very large mushrooms – one might expect to see the hookah-smoking caterpillar from Alice In Wonderland relaxing on top of one.

(image via: Susan Ward Aber)

The Kansas Mushroom Rocks are a work in progress, and unfortunately the end of the job means the end of the rock formation. Although weathering by wind and water is a slow process, it’s remarkably effective over long stretches of time. In the Mushroom Rocks, one can easily see how the harder, darker Dakota Sandstone cap rock protects (to some degree) the softer, lighter colored stone that forms its pedestal. Even more remarkable is the fact that the narrow pedestal was once part of a distinct layer of rock, the vast majority of which has eroded away.

Chiremba Balancing Rocks, Epworth, Zimbabwe

(images via: Gerald Zinnecker and Deeping Blogorama)

The Chiremba Balancing Rocks are little known outside of Zimbabwe but the locals certainly appreciate their majesty: one impressive grouping is featured on the country’s banknotes. Like the balancing rocks of the Sidobre in France, these weathered boulders are made of ancient granite and it’s taken millions of years for them to settle into their outwardly precarious positions.

(image via: TravelJournals/TheGoose)

Epworth is located a few miles southeast of Zimbabwe’s capitol, Harare, and the Chiremba Balancing Rocks are just a short taxi ride away. They were declared a national monument in 1994 and admission to the park is approximately 3 dollars.

Mexican Hat Rock, Utah, USA

Mexican Hat Rock is located just outside Monument Valley in south-central San Juan County, Utah. The 60-foot (18 m) wide by 12-foot (3.7 m) thick red sandstone rock outcropping is the only one of its kind in the area and can be seen for miles around.

(image via: Bridgepix)

There are two designated climbing routes laid out for those who wish to make the strenuous hike to the base of Mexican Hat Rock’s sombrero-shaped cap. Though not a “balanced rock” in the pure sense of the term, the cap rock is attached to its base by a very narrow neck which will inevitably snap sooner or later… keep that in mind, hikers.

The Steady Hand Of Man

(images via: Rock On, Rock ON!, Squarewithin and Cheerful Monk)

The frozen tranquility of natural balanced rocks has inspired artists to try and replicate their beauty – not an easy proposition considering naturally balanced rocks have settled into their positions while creating such a tableau means working backwards, so to speak. Even so, the art of balancing rocks has gained a surprisingly large and talented following.

(image via: Rock On, Rock ON!)

Daliel Leite is one of these artists and his creations approach – and on occasion even match – the suspended splendor of nature’s best balanced rocks. The precisely oriented chunk of petrified wood above is one of Leite’s best known efforts. Is the rock still standing on its minuscule base, or did it tumble seconds after being photographed? Leite isn’t saying – and thanks to the marvel of photography, it really doesn’t matter.

(image via: Life Without Limits)

Those of a certain age will be very familiar with the concept of balanced rocks – and the consequences of their sudden unbalancing – shown time after time in the 48 classic Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies cartoons first broadcast in 1949. The 2D desert landscape in which Wile E. Coyote and Road Runner conducted their many epic encounters was a virtual minefield of balanced rocks which suddenly, catastrophically, became unbalanced when in close proximity to poor Wile E.’s noggin. Luckily, reality is kinder to both coyotes and balanced rocks – there are still plenty of both to go around!

35 Unique Lamps That Will Light Up Your Imagination

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35 Unique Lamps That Will Light Up Your Imagination: [ By Marc in Furniture & Interiors, Gadgets & Geek Art, Technology & Futurism. ]

We’re beyond the year 2000, and it’s time to ditch your ancient lamp with its boring beige shade and antiquated knobs. Admittedly, lamp technology has barely changed over time, but there are plenty of designers out there who have gone to extreme lengths to push the boundaries of lamp design into much more creative territory. Prepare to be sad and shamed by your boring light solutions.

(Images via makezine, geekologie, jocundist, nerdapproved)

The tried and true lamp design is old hat. These innovative and interesting lamp shapes would instantly become the conversation piece of any room. If you’re not a fan of industrial or epic designs, there are plenty more to choose from.

(Images via noble-and-famous-king, dirjournal, designerscouch, clayj)

Modern design is known for its monochrome aesthetic and minimalist design. These lights are cool and collected, and would fit perfectly with a minimalist aesthetic. They have just enough flair to be interesting, but not so much that they seem busy.

(Images via mycoolgadget, 2dayblog, yournextgift, poshparlor)

The light industry is becoming increasingly experimental, and it’s now possible to find a lamp made out of just about anything. Anyone who is a fan of Vespa’s can now bring (part of) one home to light up their living room. A dinosaur made out of paper would be ideal for a kid’s room, and a light made out of an extension cord has the perfect aesthetic for a garage or work area.

(Images via gadgettastic, mentalfloss, gadgetsin, newlaunches)

Are you a videogame fan groping in the dark for a lamp that would light up your gaming room with just the right touch of dorkiness? Look no further. Lamps made out of retired Atari systems, shades featuring favorite characters, and entire lights designed to look the part of the classic games of one’s childhood… these are all available, if you look in the right places.

(Images via vubx, funkydowntown, gadgether, lovecoolest)

The most interesting lamp designs are often surreal, and maybe not the most effective. If you live in a very eclectic space with a ton of artwork, you might as well make your lighting solution just as beautiful as the rest of your home. If you’re just looking for a floor lamp to put in the corner, this might not be the best for you.

(Images via theavclub, darkroastedblend, popgive, sightglass, designtavern)

Frank Buchwald has become famous for his steampunk flavored lamp creations. With interesting aesthetics and breathtaking detail, it’s no wonder he’s able to fetch such a nice price for his beautiful lamps. It’s easy to spot the overall look of a Frank Buchwald piece, but he does a great job at making each lamp an entirely unique entity.

(Images via gizmodiva, uphaa, outnext, simplydecoration, jimonlight)

All you need for a lamp is lightbulbs, so it’s time you got creative. These pieces put just enough of a twist on the old favorites that they’re both exciting and realistic. One can easily imagine one of these lamps gracing their shelf or end table.

(Images via slipperybrick, yokiddo, modernurbanliving, hauntedmaps, lampbeda)

Some consumers prefer the macabre, and there are plenty of lamps that target this audience nicely. Disturbing materials, or unearthly aesthetics, are enough to turn most people off, but there is a hardcore group that loves the weird and ghastly. Anyone who has a thrilling pumpkin-headed monster lamp is sure to be a hit at a holiday party, and what greater way to grace a doctor’s desk than a custom spine masterpiece.