Friday, 29 April 2011

True Colors: Compressed Movie Prints Show Film Moods

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True Colors: Compressed Movie Prints Show Film Moods: [ By Delana in Architecture & Design & Gadgets & Geek Art & Technology & Futurism. ]


When you watch your favorite movies over and over, you might start to acquire the ability to recite every line. Every frame of the movie looks familiar and you can predict how the light will change with every scene. But would you recognize your favorites if they were smooshed down into single pictures? (Above: Requiem for a Dream)




(Blade Runner)


(V for Vendetta)

These impressive works of art were created by MovieBarCode, a website that takes every single frame of your favorite movies and compresses them single-frame pictures.



(Se7en)


(Princess Mononoke)

The resulting images are surprisingly lovely, like colorful bar codes with hidden stories to tell. All of the colors of each movie are expressed in the thin vertical stripes, making for some truly impressive new pieces of art.



(The Lion King)


(The Matrix)

It is even possible to tell the mood and overall feel of each film just by the color scheme in these abbreviated representations. Some are predictable, like the cartoons with plenty of bright colors and the overly-green Matrix. Some exhibit long stretches of the same scenery, such as in The Big Lebowski.



(The Big Lebowski)


(The Fifth Element)

The website has an impressive number of movie bar codes posted already, but the artist behind the site also takes requests for any that haven’t yet been created. Prints of the amazing works of art can be purchased from the MovieBarCode website

Numbers House: Neat Numeric Facade Addresses the Street

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Numbers House: Neat Numeric Facade Addresses the Street: [ Filed under Offbeat & in the Architecture category ]


Many problems, one solution: a series of decks turn this ordinary, prefab, mass-produced townhouses into a unified sequence that both spells out their street addresses and uniquely identifies each part of a larger whole.



A series of lookalike domestic structures presents a problem for both residents and guests. On the one hand, there is the sense of being solitary but stuck within a set of blandly identical buildings. On the other hand, visitors have to find a particular domicile from a larger group.



Adding this gesture to the facades works as a way-finding device, ties together the disparate units, but also makes them look and feel different, all without adding considerable cost to lower-priced, multi-family residences.



Behind it all: modest plans for affordable living units. This elegantly simple and price-effective solution reflects value added (to cheap stock plans for wood-framed homes) by the Japanese firm of??Mitsutomo Matsunami Architect & Associates

Thursday, 28 April 2011

Bio-Engineered Bricks Grown from Urine, Bacteria & Sand

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Bio-Engineered Bricks Grown from Urine, Bacteria & Sand: [ By Delana in Art & Design & Nature & Ecosystems & Science & Research. ]


Bricks have built much of our modern world, but how often do we consider the origins of these common building blocks? Brick production – involving a coal-fired kiln – causes a staggering amount of pollution. In fact, the 1.23 trillion bricks manufactured every year produce more pollution than all of the world’s airplanes combined. What can be done to reduce harmful emissions while maintaining the usefulness of the ultra-useful brick? According to one architect, the answer is to grow bricks rather than baking them.




(all images via: Metropolis Mag)

The Better Brick was the 2011 winner of Metropolis Magazine’s Next Generation Design Competition. Conceived by 32-year-old assistant architecture professor Ginger Krieg Dosier, the Better Brick exists at a strange intersection of chemistry, architecture and microbiology. Rather than forming clay into rectangles and firing it at 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit, her method calls for microbial-induced calcite precipitation. Her bricks are made from sand, calcium chloride, bacteria and urea, a compound found in urine.



The method for making Better Bricks is rather simple, but the chemical process that takes place is less so. Using a simple form, sand is packed into a brick shape and doused with bacteria and the urea solution. After leaving the brick to harden for a week at room temperature, you have a building block that required only simple, renewable materials to build. When building a wall or other structure with the Better Bricks, the same binding method is used to hold them together, making mortar unnecessary. Eventually – when the formula is just right – Dosier says she can even program 3D printers to build the bricks layer by layer to her exact specifications, even in funky shapes.



Like many new green technologies, however, there are some slight snags. The process currently takes roughly three times longer to make bricks than the conventional method, which will mean that the entire building process would be significantly slowed down. But even more troubling is the fact that the process releases massive amounts of ammonia, which is eventually converted to nitrates and can poison groundwater. Dosier’s answer to this problem is to look more closely at developing a closed-loop system where the waste products are recycled to be used in the manufacturing process rather than released into the environment.

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Food of the Golds: 10 Amazing Ways to Enjoy Eating Gold

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Food of the Golds: 10 Amazing Ways to Enjoy Eating Gold: [ By Steve in Art & Design & Food & Health & History & Trivia. ]



Taking a shine to your meals lately? Perhaps it’s the other way around: the extravagant gourmand whose gastronomic delights display an aura of Aurum may know something more plebeian diners don’t… putting carats on one’s carrots is as good as gold.



Golden Gourmets


(images via: Foodmall and Emerald Bay Photo)


From ancient times, the world’s rich and powerful have sought to extend and expand their wealth and power by eating foods far too rare, too beautiful or too mystical for the common man (and woman) to afford. Gold fits the bill… but to eat or drink it, one must have the means to PAY the bill.


(images via: Picture Message, Parents and iOffer)


Why gold, you might ask, when gourmet delicacies like truffles, sweetbreads and, er, lark’s tongues in aspic are just as rare and probably a whole lot more flavorful. It’s all for show, of course – gold is useful for jewelry and not much else, so why not “gild the lily” when making friends and influencing people? This was exactly what the ancient Egyptians had in mind when they introduced the world to the art of edible gold. These days, the cult of celebrity has supplanted the worship of more heavenly bodies and edible gold is all the rage among the privileged classes. Here are 10 ways one can imbibe edible gold, some so affordable even a modern-day plebeian can enjoy them!


Shake Yer Beauty


(images via: Gold Leaf Company and Fancy Flours)


First off, my apologies for that truly awful title – now let’s move on to some real beauty you can shake onto just about anything. We’re talkin’ gold… silver and gold, actually, individually packaged in powdered form at a surprisingly reasonable price. The gold goes for around $100 per gram which may seem like a lot but look on the bright side: a little gold (or silver) powder will go a long way.


Food Bling


(images via: Food Network UK and Daily Mail UK)


Powder too fine for your chowder? Fancy a sprinkle on your, er, can’t think of a rhyme for “sprinkle.” Regardless, when only gold can fit the mold, do your thing with some Food Bling. British food celeb Laura Santtini has hooked up with Selfridges department store to market a range of gold and silver sprinkles under the trendy moniker. Sez Santtini, it’s “an inexpensive and easy way of making a meal more glamorous.”


Graffiti You Can Eat-y


(images via: ArtNectar)


Polishing an apple to give to a favorite teacher? Make an indelible impression with Esslack edible gold food spray from German food cooperative The Deli Garage. As seen in the image above, you can spray-paint your tomatoes a glittering golden hue. It matters not that tomatoes look perfectly appetizing “as is”; Esslack is all about making an impression.


I Can’t Be-Leaf It’s Gold!


(images via: Yahoo Lifestyle, Margot Austin and Pretty Tasty Cakes)


One of gold’s most fascinating properties is its extreme malleability. A tiny nugget of gold can be hammered out into a surprisingly wide sheet that may be only a few dozen atoms thick: Gold Leaf. Food grade labeled gold leaf allows chefs and cooks to add the appearance of great value to their culinary creations while in actuality using very tiny amounts of gold.


Golden Gulps


(images via: Gggirlanachronism, Gdansk Life and Supercook)


Those who have enjoyed Goldschläger cinnamon schnapps may feel richer than they really are: a 750ml bottle only contains about a tenth of a gram (0.1 g) of gold flakes worth around us$5 on the metals market. Even so, it’s not the quantity of gold that counts here, it’s the quality of the company, the occasion and the atmosphere. Goldschläger is one of several liqueurs infused with tiny amounts of gold leaf with the original being Danziger Goldwasser, first brewed and sold back in 1598.


Buy The Bar


(images via: Zimbio and Luxuo)


The power of social media has brought back Cadbury’s much-loved Wispa Gold chocolate bar, though at a cost. Like, £961.48 (about $1,630). Fret not, British chocoholics, the heavy sticker price is for one very special Wispa Gold bar, covered in gold leaf and packaged in a custom gold leaf wrapper. Over 22,000 Wispa Gold fans joined the Facebook group “Bring back Cadbury’s Wispa Gold”, leading to the presentation of the one & only gold Wispa Gold bar. The choice confection was presented by Tony Hadley of the 1980′s New Romantic band Spandau Ballet, whose 2nd best-charting single was… “Gold”.


California Gold Rush Rolls


(image via: Foodiggity)


When it comes to gourmet sushi, Filipino chef Angelito Araneta Jr. has got the Midas touch. He’ll need it – it’s tough to top some types of sushi when it comes to both price and presentation. Araneta judiciously applies 23K gold leaf to his custom creations and at times even THAT isn’t enough: the gold-wrapped rolls above are garnished with 12 local Palawan pearls and 4 (.20ct) African diamonds of VVS clarity. We’re gonna need more Alka Seltzer, stat!


Frrrozen Haute Chocolate Sundae


(images via: Reuters and Wicked Stage)


When the Guinness World Record people recognize you for preparing the world’s most expensive dessert, you can be pretty sure there’s gold involved. When the dish costs $25,000 it’s pretty much a given. The delectable “Frrozen Haute Chocolate” is a dreamy dessert devised by Stephen Bruce, owner of the New York restaurant Serendipity 3. Bruce blended 28 exotic cocoas with 5 grams (0.2 ounces) of edible 23-karat gold and as a bonus, slipped an 18-karat gold bracelet with 1 carat of white diamonds into the bottom of the sundae. Don’t eat the bracelet, just lick it clean and slip it on.


Cupcake Wars


(images via: A Spoonful of Sugar, Baa Baa Cupcake and Caroline’s Creations)


Cupcakes offer chefs a small but rich palette upon which to work their wonders, and gold dragees seem to be one of the more popular weapons in their arsenal. “Weapons” indeed… anyone chomping down on a dragee unawares might think their snack was full of buckshot. These gold-glazed sugar spheres may commonly appear as decorations for desserts but be advised that the FDA lists them as being inedible. Visit the UK and Europe, on the other hand, and you’re free to crunch these tiny golden jawbreakers to your heart’s content.


Shiny Luxury Novelty


(image via: DeLafée International)


Looking for the special gift for the princess who has everything? DeLafée International suggests this gold lollipop gift, described as “a decadent indulgence and a suggestive accessory.” The 45 gram (1.6 oz) strawberry flavored and heart-shaped lollypop might be considered childish if not for the flecks of edible gold clinging to its sweet surface. A little too sexist for you? No worries, DeLafée also sells hand-rolled Dominican luxury cigars wrapped in gold leaf. Smokin hot!

Polygonal Penthouse Tops Trans-Generational Townhouse

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Polygonal Penthouse Tops Trans-Generational Townhouse: [ Filed under Architecture & in the Additions category ]


How do you put a penthouse for a grown child on top of their parent’s home? A strange situation called for something unique – an independent and differentiated addition that works both with and against the historic stone walls and foundation.



Grupo Aranea created a space for the client to call home, reaching out to surrounding views of southern Spanish landscapes, while providing privacy and connections to the old home below.



A series of cantilevers allow slices of light and air in along the edges, while folding wall-to-floor planes flip up for larger expanses and tuck back in to create nooks and crannies.




While the plans communicate the necessary information, and the three-dimensional model remains photo-realistic, the most convincing part of the project’s presentation are the study models and shadow-testing photographs showing the interplay of space, light and shadow.

Top Secret: 11 Stealthiest Spy Gadgets & Tech

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Top Secret: 11 Stealthiest Spy Gadgets & Tech: [ By Steph in Gadgets & Geek Art & Technology & Futurism. ]


From the wannabe James Bond next door to agents of the CIA and other shadowy government entities, spies of all caliber have a wealth of incredibly stealthy technology to help them listen in on conversations, take covert video, scan faces in crowds, snatch a suspect’s DNA and destroy their own data when compromised. These 11 crazy spy gadgets, from low-tech DIY projects to top-secret experiments, will have you feeling paranoid that somebody – or something – is watching you.


Robotic Roaches



(image via: engadget, popsci)

As if roaches, beetles and other creepy-crawlies weren’t already unwelcome in your home, you’ll be even warier of them as they gain disturbing spy capabilities thanks to the latest in cyborg tech. In 2006, Tokyo University researchers created an army of zombie cockroaches that can be directed by remote control; scientists are now taking their work one step further by using the cockroaches’ bodily functions to power the CPUs and radio components of spy devices. Researchers have also been able to create remote-controlled cyborg beetles by attaching computer chips to the brains of the insects, equipping them with cameras and other devices.


Face-Scanning Sunglasses



(images via: blue moon in her eyes)

Crowds at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil will be subjected to face-scanning software hidden in the sunglasses of police. The new technology, which consists of a small camera fitted to the glasses, can capture 400 facial images per second and transmit them to a central computer database, which can store up to 13 million faces. Working at a distance of up to 50 meters (164 feet), the devices will help law enforcement identify those involved in brawls and other illegal activity.


Double Duty Pen and Weapon



(images via: benchmade.com, coolest gadgets)

Why carry around an ordinary pen when you could have one that could save your life, or even capture DNA from an attacker? The Benchmark 1100 Pen by Benchmade has a kubotan-style pointed weapon made of either anodized aluminum or stainless steel hidden within its body, while the Uzi tactical pen hides a ‘DNA Catcher’ in its crown, which not only injures attackers but takes a sample of their blood. Both pens also function as glass breakers.


Spy Kite with Digital Camera



(images via: ohgizmo)

Curious about your neighbor’s land, or just want to snap some aerial photographs for more innocuous reasons? The Spy Kite by Eolo mounts a cheap digital camera to a kite with about 82 feet of string, taking photos via wireless remote. Low-tech and low-cost, the kite is not exactly CIA-worthy, but might make you think twice about any wayward kites you see hanging over your home.


Peephole Reverser



(images via: spygadgets.com)

We install peepholes in our doors to protect ourselves, allowing us to identify anyone at the door before we open it to them. But those same peepholes can easily be used against us. A simple gadget called a peephole reverser, also known as a tactical door viewer, was developed by law enforcement, giving them a look at activity inside a dwelling without alerting anyone inside.


Laser Microphone



(images via: lucid science)

It’s all too easy to listen to someone’s conversation using little more than a laser beam. Laser microphones use a laser beam to measure the vibration of sounds on a surface, usually glass windows, transmitting those sounds back to the listener’s receiver. DIY instructions abound on the internet, including this tutorial by Lucid Science.


Spy Flies



(image via: washington post)

Robotic-looking dragonflies and other insects have been spotted at political events and protests in Washington and New York, hovering over antiwar rallies. While no government agency admitted to deploying the robots, the technology has been in the works for decades and some entities have admitted that they’re currently trying to perfect it. Because replicating the flying motions of a live insect tends to be inefficient, researchers may soon turn to flying cyborg insects like the beetles and roaches instead.


Micro-Cameras Based on Maple Seeds



(image via: cnet)

Is that a maple seed spinning down toward the ground – or a covert micro-camera designed by Lockheed Martin? The defense contractor is developing a tiny camera based on the seed, which will have two tiny jet boosters to help steer it and keep it in the air. Lockheed plans to disperse them over war zones to monitor conditions, find survivors in disaster areas and even detect chemical and biological weapons.


Pen-Sized Document Scanner



(image via: pcmag)

Need to scan a document on the sly, as quickly as possible? The Docupen by Planon is hardly bigger than a regular writing instrument, but pass it over a sheet of paper or a photograph and it will capture and store the documents, ready to be uploaded via USB or Bluetooth to any computer.


Wireless Camera Disguised as a Screw



(image via: spygearco.com)

It’s hard not to be paranoid about amazingly tiny hidden cameras when they’re as stealthy as this. A tiny wireless camera is hidden in the head of a screw, transmitting live video to your television or recording it on a VCR. All it needs to operate is a single 9 volt battery. These cameras are inexpensive and widely available.


Self-Destructiong RAM



(image via: engadget)

The last thing a spy wants is to have his or her own data stolen. Going beyond encryption and biometrics, a new form of magnetoresistive RAM will render data unusable if the chip is compromised. Philips is currently developing the technology, which wraps the chips in two layers of soft magnetic foil, one of which is magnetized. The other layer acts as a “keeper” by gathering flux from a permanent magnet and maintaining a closed loop around the data. If a thief rips open the foil, the magnets erase the data.

12 Organic Fertilizers & Natural Bug Repellants

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12 Organic Fertilizers & Natural Bug Repellants: [ By Steph in Home & Garden & Tricks & Hacks. ]


It’s officially time to start planting in most growing zones of the continental U.S. – how will you make your garden grow this year? These 12 easy, natural DIY pest repellants and fertilizers will enrich your soil and prevent damaging insects and slugs from undoing all your hard work. Safe for organic gardens, these homemade garden recipes and fertilizing tips will give you your best growing season ever.


Castile Soap Spray Insecticide



(image via: drbronner.com)

Is there anything castile soap can’t do? The gentle vegetable oil-based soap makes a gentle and effective insecticidal spray for the garden. Dr. Bronner’s, the company that makes the most prevalent brand of castile soap, recommends filling a spray bottle with water and adding a tablespoon of either unscented or peppermint castile soap and a pinch of either cayenne pepper, cinnamon or powdered garlic. This mixture will kill aphids, mealybugs, whiteflies and spider mites.


Manure



(image via: kristine paulus)

There are few things better for enriching the soil in your garden than plain old rotted manure. You can purchase bags of manure fertilizer at most garden centers or, if you have chickens, goats or rabbits as backyard pets, you can use their droppings, too. Rabbit droppings have the highest nitrogen content and can safely be added directly to soil, but droppings from other animals should be composted before use.


Garlic Spray Insecticide



(image via: mullica)

Garlic spray acts as a deterrent, encouraging insects to move on to more appetizing plants. Unlike many other types of insecticidal garden sprays, garlic can safely be applied to the leaves of plants. Drop the cloves from an entire bulb of garlic into the blender along with two cups of water, puree until finely blended and set it aside for a day. Then, strain out the pulp, mix the garlic liquid with a gallon of water and add it to a sprayer.


Nettle Tea



(image via: la catholique)

Nettles aren’t a pleasant plant to brush up against – their leaves are covered in stinging hairs that inject histamine and other chemicals into the skin, producing a stinging sensation. But dig them up (with gloves on, of course), put them in a 5-gallon bucket, cover them with water and in three to four weeks you’ll have glorious liquid plant food that experts swear by. Nettles.org.uk has the full recipe.


Tomato Leaf Spray



(image via: shelly and roy)

Tomato leaves are packed with alkaloids, which can be an effective repellant for aphids, corn earworms and Diamondback moths. Go Green Ninja recommends soaking 1 to 2 cups of chopped or mashed tomato leaves in two cups of water overnight, straining it through a fine mesh and adding two more cups of water before spraying it on the plants in your garden. Keep this mixture away from pets, as tomato leaves can be toxic.


Egg Shells as Fertilizer & Pest Repellant



(image via: tuchodi)

Egg shells are a multi-purpose aid in the garden, acting as both fertilizer and pest repellant. Add crushed eggshells to the bottom of planting holes, particularly when planting tomatoes, peppers and eggplant, or dry them out and blend them into a fine powder and spread them around the base of plants. Placing crushed eggshells (with sharp edges intact) in a ring around the base of a plant will deter slugs, snails and cutworms.


Slug Beer Trap



(image via: steve r)

Put a little beer in a saucer or yogurt cup (buried to the brim) in your garden, and slugs will come out from all over for an all-night yeast-consuming fest. Too bad they’ll fall in and drown, but hey – otherwise, they’d be eating all of your precious garden plants. Simple, cheap and the perfect way to dispose of all the dregs left behind after a party.


Coffee Grounds as Fertilizer



(image via: how can i recycle this)

Don’t toss those used coffee grounds! They could be adding lots of nourishing nitrogen to your soil. Contrary to popular belief, used coffee grounds are not acidic; they can act as a safe substitute for nitrogen-rich manure in the compost pile. They can also be mixed into soil as an amendment or spread onto the surface of the soil.


Hot Pepper Spray



(image via: oceanaris)

Hot pepper is a natural deterrent for many types of pests in the garden. To make your own homemade pepper spray, combine 6-10 hot peppers and two cups of water in a blender and blend on high speed for 1-2 minutes, pour the liquid into a storage container to sit overnight and then strain out the pulp. Add this liquid to one quart of water in a sprayer, and spray your plants liberally every week or after each rain.


Grass Clippings



(image via: qfamily)

Want a beautiful, effortlessly green lawn? Don’t pick up those grass clippings when you mow the lawn! It’s that simple. Grass clippings are free fertilizer, adding precious nitrogen back to the soil. Short grass clippings decompose quickly, so as long as you mow often enough, they won’t stick around so long that they build up to unmanageable levels.


Beneficial Nematodes



(image via: amazon)

It sounds illogical, but sometimes, adding more bugs to your garden will help decrease the total population. Beneficial nematodes are tiny organisms that can kill hundreds of species of soil-dwelling insects including notorious garden pests like weevils, cucumber beetles and vine borers. You can buy them online, or at your local garden center. To use them you water your garden, then mix the packet of live nematodes with cool distilled water according to the directions on the package. Pour the solution into a sprayer and apply it to the soil.


Compost



(image via: kirsty hall)

Compost is the single easiest and most effective way to make your garden lush and productive, and all it takes is your kitchen scraps and some nitrogen-rich dry materials like grass, leaves or straw. You can compost even if you live in an apartment – get some urban composting tips here.