Friday, 26 February 2010

31 Aquariums From Wow to WTF [Pics]

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31 Aquariums From Wow to WTF [Pics]: [ By Angie in Animals & Habitats, Art & Design, Home & Garden. ]

People enjoy watching fish swim. It’s soothing in our otherwise crazy high-speed lifestyles. Fish habitats come in practically every shape and size you can imagine. Some are works of wonder while others are more like WTF were they thinking when they designed that aquarium. These are 31 of those very unique aquariums found around the world.

Want an Aquarium?

(image credits Born Rich,hometone,gizmodo,Sydney Morning Herald,Born Rich)

Fish habitats have come a long way since simple rectangular aquariums or a round bowl. If you want some fish and need an aquarium, the sky is the limit nowadays. . . or perhaps your budget is deciding factor. If you want fish in the kitchen, but not to eat, then there are kitchen table bars for that. Sofas come with aquariums on both sides. There are aquariums to hang on the wall that resemble flat screen TVs. Fish in an iPod? It’s been done. There are even space-age hanging aquariums so your fish habitat will not take up any of your valuable floor space.

glass-art

(image credits: Vanessa Mitrani )

If you have a fondness for glass art yet also want to keep fish as pets, there are dozens of options available for you. These decorative fish tanks by Vanessa Mitrani have organic bubbles that balloon this way and that to provide an environment in which betas can survive. Cleaning is done with a soft sponge and water.

Ice

(image credits doseng)

Want fish but not the mess of cleaning their habitat? Of course, you would not get to enjoy watching the fish swim either in this type of aquarium. The aquarium is made of ice and the fish are frozen inside it.

Strange or Cool?

(image credits gizmodo,Born Rich,gizmodo,novate)

The Spillarium has a waterfall effect to circulate and purify water in the aquarium. It might also keep your fish swimming like crazy to avoid spilling out of the hole and into the ceramic fish’s mouth. If you enjoy watching fish swim, but dislike feeding them and cleaning their tank, you must check out the Aquapict LED Jellyfish Aquarium. It contains three electrified life-like jellyfish, made out of silicone, to seem as if they are swimming. On the lower left, “Swimming Around In Circles” aquarium is only a concept at this point, but was designed for your fishies to feel free. It “loops the fish around in an infinite tunnel of water and glass.” The lower right aquarium is for breeding fish. It plugs into your computer via USB to help you track and monitor optimum breeding conditions.

Fish Fans

(image credits Luxury Housing Trends,Opulent Items,Opulent Items,Elseware Inc)

Nothing new here, but it does show variety in where you can keep your fish. Do you have high stress at work and need a way to relax? The aquarium desk takes keeping fish at work to another level. In fact, you can sooth your stress level while watching fish swim in any room of your house. There are all shapes and sizes of coffee table aquariums. Too dull for you? Then how about keeping your fish in the bathroom sink or in the back of the toilet?

Cruelly Cramped to Free Roam Pipeline

(image credits Collections Etc,xinhuanet,The contaminated)

Apartment living often leads to needing every precious square foot. It seems cruel to keep your fish in a tiny half bubble tank on the wall, but some people like it. Another cruel yet odd aquarium design can be found in a Beijing hotel lobby. The fish survive for only six days before a big flushing and new fish stock replaces the old. The polar opposite of cramped and cruel is the pipeline fish tank that zigs and zags all over a cafe. These fish are free roaming, swimming from one aquarium to another by way of pipelines which connect them.

How To Clean?

(image credits Opulent Items)

The Labyrinth Aquarium is without a doubt very cool. However, with a price tag of $6,500, it seems as if it should come with a person to clean this opulent aquarium. Just the same, it’s pretty neat to look at the fish swimming freely throughout this enitre fish tank.

The Aquarium Phone Booth

(image credits RX thepirata, Benoit Deseille and Benedetto Bufalino,lady_stardust9)

Artists Benoit Deseille and Benedetto Bufalino created this telephone booth aquarium as part of the Lyon Light Festival in France. They stated, “With the advent of the mobile telephone, telephone booths lie unused. We rediscover this glass cage transformed into an aquarium, full of exotically coloured fish; an invitation to escape and travel.”

Aquarium Arch

(image credits fish-and-dreams)

Aquariums are pretty much in every design imaginable. This aquarium archway would definitely attract attention in any home, office or business.

3D

(image credits fish-and-dreams)

This project aimed at showing the designer’s capabilities in realizing your ideas and fantasies that go beyond the usual and standard. This 3D bar aquarium is creative and cool, definitely a winner in commanding attention.

Bar with an aquarium dancefloor filled with sharks

(image credits QUA Bottle Lounge)

There are many bars around the world that are built around an aquarium, but not so many where the dance floor is a giant fish tank. In Austin, Texas, this cocktail lounge is called QUA Bottle Lounge. The dance floor is filled with sharks.

Aquadom

(image credits id4,,vagabondish)

The Radisson SAS hotel in Berlin Mitte, has a 25 meter tall elevator encased inside a giant aquarium. It is the largest acrylic glass cylinder aquarium in the world. It holds 900,000 liters of sea water and 56 different fish species. Every day, divers take care of feeding the fish and cleaning inside this massive and unique tank.

Georgia Aquarium

(image credit: textransfer)

The Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta is advertised as the “world’s largest aquarium.” It has 100,000 animals of 500 different species. The aquarium holds more than 8.1 million gallons of marine and fresh water. Pictured above is the The Ocean Voyager exhibit tunnel is a 100 foot underwater tunnel which includes the vast majority of the aquarium’s water and almost 100,000 fish. Other aquatic animals are displayed in five different galleries: Georgia Explorer, Tropical Diver, Ocean Voyager, Cold Water Quest, and River Scout.

Dubai Mall Aquarium

Inside the Dubai Mall Aquarium is one of the of the largest tanks in the world and featuring the world’s largest viewing panel at 32.8m wide and 8.3m high. Over time, Dubai Aquarium will have more than 33,000 living animals, representing more than 85 species including over 400 sharks and rays combined.

Kuroshio Sea

The Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium is housed within the Ocean Expo Commemorative National Government Park in Okinawa, Japan. It is the world’s second largest aquarium behind the Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta.

Fantastic Flash: 15 Fun & Dynamic Websites

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Fantastic Flash: 15 Fun & Dynamic Websites: [ By Steph in Gadgets & Geek Art, Technology & Futurism, Urbanism. ]


Gone are the days when a slow-loading Flash intro gave websites cool points, but failed to serve a real purpose. Flash is now an integral element of some of the most visually stimulating, engaging websites on the ‘net, allowing users to be active participants in the content of the site. Animations, games, virtual exploration and dazzling transition effects make these 15 Flash websites stand out as creative, interesting and fun.


Mauricio Guimaraes



When you arrive at illustrator and web designer Mauricio Guimaraes’ website, you’re in for an interactive journey across a strange and fantastical landscape featuring pencils, pen nibs, artist palettes and more. Fly across the land with your mouse and click on the mountain/head (whose eyes move along with your cursor) to read about Guimaraes, the bundle of writing instruments for his portfolio or the big pile of telecommunications equipment to contact the artist.


Wonderwall



The portfolio of interior design firm Wonderwall almost seems like a living being when you’re moving your mouse across it; it responds astonishingly fluid movement and little sound effects that sound like drips of water. And while it may seem as if such a design would eclipse the portfolio itself, in this case it incites the viewer to stay and peruse and play much longer than they would on a traditional portfolio website.


National Grid Floe



Improve your carbon footprint, or the baby polar bear gets it. That’s basically the gist of London-based utility company National Grid’s website, though it’s actually fun to navigate the site and get a reaction out of the bears. Make friends with a bear cub, name it, and as you answer environmental impact quiz questions correctly, you get to play with it and increase its health.


Get the Glass



For most kids, when cookies are out of the equation, drinking a glass of milk is more of a chore than a treat. But the Got Milk? campaign is drawing kids in with a Flash-based interactive flash board game on its website that’s surprisingly sophisticated. The aim is to “briefly put your daily morals aside” and help a family of milk-craving fugitives break into an island fort to get the last glass of milk.


Waterlife



A documentary called WaterLife tells “the story of the last great supply of fresh drinking water on earth”: the Great Lakes. With a soothing color scheme, plenty of animation, 3D effects and the opportunity to interact, this website serves as a strong companion to the film.


Dojo SF



The Dojo SF intro page slowly unfolds to reveal a strange but spellbinding jumble of arcane imagery, while the individual pages use seamless transitions and scrolling to offer quick and easy access to all of the site’s important info.


The Eco Zoo



With stunning Papervision effects and a really fun, interactive flash interface, it’s no wonder the Eco Zoo website won “FWA Site of the Year” in 2009. The designer, Junichi Nakazawa of ENJIN Inc, says “The Eco Zoo is our attempt at creating communication that is easily and enjoyable understood by people of all generations and nationalities, while pushing the envelope of online creative expression.”


Falcon’s Treehouse



Falcon’s Treehouse is a creative services firm that designs and produces what they call “themed experiences”, so it’s only fitting that their own website is an experience unto itself that unfolds as you interact with it. The more you play with the site, the more strange new landscapes begin to reveal themselves – night turns into day, patterns appear, blurry images are sharpened.


Record Tripping



It starts with a scratch of a record, and gets more complex – and fun – from there. The Bell Brothers’ interactive browser game ‘Record Tripping’ turns your computer mouse into a turntable, inciting you to use your mouse’s scroll function to for a series of challenges that also involve Alice in Wonderland, The Gorillaz, Death Cab for Cutie and Weezer. It’s not quite as strange as it sounds, but fun to play.


Breathe Architecture



The Breathe Architecture website doesn’t do anything wild, but sometimes, simplicity can be so refreshing – especially when there are so many Flash websites out there that are cluttered with unnecessary fluff. In fact, for a Flash site, this is downright minimalist, with a design that’s easy to navigate, intuitive and ultra-responsive.


Hobnox Audiotool



On the other end of the spectrum – in a good way – is the Hobnox Audiotool website, a browser-based Flash audio production tool that allows you to wire together various types of effects to create music in real time, in your own little virtual studio. Laymans Reviews calls it “one of the most productive ways of wasting time on the web”.


DVEIN 2009



Barcelona-based motion and interactive studio DVEIN, responsible for the title sequences in a number of movies and television projects like Spiderman 3, displays their work in an eye-catching wheel of images. Once clicked, many of those images are animated – and from there, a video opens to display the work in full.


Help the Honeybees



Honeybee populations around the world are disappearing at an alarming rate, and Haagen-Dazs is letting everyone know with their program Help the Honeybees. Their interactive Flash website allows you to take your very own honeybee on a journey through a buzzing field full of pollen-packed plants to learn more about the plight of bees.


Edwin Murat Ganter



Illustrator and web designer Edwin Murat Ganter shows off his skills using flash images of his work scrolling across a television screen. Nothing stands as a truer sense of a web designer’s work than his own website, and this one is creative and functional.


Monoface



“Simpler is better.” That’s what advertising agency Mono is trying to get across with their awesome flash website that doesn’t do much more than allow users to create bizarre faces from disparate parts. But get sucked in trying to come up with the funniest combinations (there are 759,375 possibilities), and you’ll get the message.

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Deception & Trickery in Plants

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Deception & Trickery in Plants: 12 Masters of Disguise: [ By Steph in Nature & Ecosystems. ]

How in the world could a plant know what rotting flesh looks like, what a skunk smells like or how to replicate the sex pheromones of wasps? Just like insects and other creatures have evolved to mimic their surroundings for reproductive advantages and survival, some plants have developed the amazing ability to engage in trickery and deception. From orchids that entice wasps to mate with them to opportunistic weeds that try to blend in with their more popular cousins, these 12 plants are masters of disguise.

Bee Orchid

(image via: full monte)

If you glanced at this photo and immediately assumed that it depicts a pair of flying bees, you’re not the only one. In fact, that’s exactly what this orchid – that’s right, orchid – wants you to think (if you’re a male bee). Found throughout Europe and the UK, the Bee Orchid doesn’t just rely on pretty colors and scents to draw pollinators in – it uses sex appeal, as well. The Bee Orchid tricks male bees into swooping down to attempt copulation – thereby furthering the spread of the orchid’s pollen.

Western Skunk Cabbage

(image via: wikimedia commons)

Hiking through the Pacific Northwest, you’re bound to pass quite a few of these pretty little plants with their big yellow blooms. But if you start smelling a skunk, the culprit is not what you think. Like other malodorous plants, the Western Skunk Cabbage emits a scent quite similar to that of skunk spray to draw in its predators – scavenging flies and beetles.

Rye

(image via: tatteralan)

Rye is the Jan Brady of the plant world, always jealous of its more popular relative wheat. While wheat was desired and cultivated, rye was left behind – until this weed began mimicking the qualities of wheat and even surpassing it in some areas through a phenomenon called Vavilovian mimicry. Once a perennial that cropped up unbidden in annual wheat fields, rye is now an annual as well and can even survive in harsher conditions.

Living Stone Plant

(image via: yellowcloud)

It’s easy to see why the Lithops plant is commonly called “living stone”. These succulents thrive in dry deserts in rocky beds, and are often virtually undetectable from their surroundings. That makes it all the more amazing when they burst into bloom, with yellow flowers that seem as if they sprung from out of nowhere.

Dead Nettle

(image via: rx wildlife)

Stinging nettle may have a number of valuable medicinal uses, but it’s a nasty plant when touched. A plant in the mint family growing nearby seems to have noticed that predators leave stinging nettle alone, because Lamium albium – known as “dead nettle” – evolved to look just like it. It doesn’t have the same painful sting, but it gets the same benefits by association and often grows near its doppelganger.

Tongue Orchid

(image via: conservation report)

The Bee Orchid is far from the only orchid that uses sexual deception to lure in pollinators. The male orchid dupe wasp is so attracted to the tongue orchid that it ejaculates right onto the flowers’ petals. Scientists say that flowers that can trick insects into ejaculating have the highest rates of pollination. “[The wasps] are perhaps not really educated about what a real female looks like, and they make a bad decision,” biologist Anne Gaskett told The New Scientist.

Passion Flower

(image via: morning-earth.org)

The passion flower vine isn’t a big fan of butterflies laying eggs on its leaves. So, it decided to develop a natural decoy: little yellow spots that look like Heliconious butterfly eggs, which convince female butterflies to look elsewhere so their offspring don’t have to compete with other caterpillars when they hatch.

Sundew

(image via: nikon small world)

How can insects resist the juicy looking dew drops on the Drosera plant, otherwise known as the Sundew? Unfortunately for the bugs drawn in for a quick sip, those enticing drops aren’t water at all – they’re a digestive enzyme, used to eat prey alive as soon as it lands on the plant. You might say the Sundew is omnivorous, since it only uses the insects to supplement its nutrition when it’s growing in poor soils.

Fly Orchid

(image via: annies pics)

Are orchids incredible or what? Much like the Tongue Orchid, the Fly Orchid (Ophrys insectifera) actually secretes sex pheromones that attract male digger wasps, which attempt to mate with the flowers. Once spent, the wasps fly off covered in the flowers’ pollen, helping it to reproduce.

Caladium steudneriifolium

(image via: red orbit)

Nearly everyone has faked being sick at least once in their lives, but it’s hard to believe that some plants can do it, too. German botanists have discovered a plant called Caladium steudneriifolium that actually pretends to be ill, designing its own leaf variegation patterns to resemble signs of disease. Scientists believe that the plant is mimicking the damage that mining moth larvae create when they hatch and begin to eat through the plant in an attempt to dissuade other moths from doing the same.

Stapelia asterias

(image via: martin heigan)

It doesn’t have a brain, but somehow the Stapelia asterias plant knows just what to do to attract beneficial insects: look and smell like rotting flesh. The flowers have hairy, wrinkled red petals that call to mind all too vividly the look of carrion left to decay in the sun. Found in South Africa, this plant emits a putrid stench to go with its less-than-pretty appearance.

Avonia papyracae

(image via: tropiflora)

From a distance, it looks like bird droppings. Look a little closer, and you’ll see that the strange Avonia papyracea actually has snake-like scales that protect it from predators. Both would seem to prevent it from being desirable as a meal, but that didn’t stop people in its native Africa from using it to induce fermentation in home-brewed beer.

Thursday, 11 February 2010

Coffee Kiss

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Tsang Cheung Shing is the ceramic artist who created this incredible pottery installation called “Ying Yeung.” The name refers to a Chinese beverage of mixed coffee and tea and also symbolizes the mandarin duck, a metaphor for marriage and love. Just amazing.
coffeekiss

PLUG Hearing Aid Concept Stretches Your Earlobes for Better Sound [Concept]

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PLUG Hearing Aid Concept Stretches Your Earlobes for Better Sound [Concept]:


Occasionally I cover my ears and sing 'Lalalala, I'm not listening to your concept description.' Today I'm covering them and begging 'No! Don't punch holes into my poor earlobes and make me use this hearing aid when I'm old! Please!'


I understand that it's a gradual process to stretch out one's earlobes and wear jewelry that looks like the PLUG hearing aid concept—heck, it's even trendy to some—but that doesn't mean that I could imagine a lot of people actually using this hearing aid if it ever turns into a real product. [Design Affairs]