Thursday, 29 September 2011

Lilliputian Landscapes: Paper Sculptures in Mini Bottles

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Lilliputian Landscapes: Paper Sculptures in Mini Bottles: [ By Delana in Art & Design & Nature & Ecosystems & Technology & Gadgets. ]

There are plenty of ways to carry a little bit of nature with you, but the tiny worlds created by Akinobu Izumi might just be the cutest. The Japanese artist makes architectural models by day, but after work hours those model-building skills are put to even better use making super-small paper sculptures and embedding them in tiny glass bottles.

The beautiful scenes Izumi invents depict everything from Christmas trees to sea and land animals to prehistoric creatures. There are even little boats and ships, bringing to mind the classic ship-in-a-bottle art projects enjoyed by many weekend hobbyists.

The itty-bitty figures are made of paper and held in place with clear or colored resin, giving the entire scene an otherworldly floating appearance. The bases and backgrounds are usually made of clay. Because of the fragile nature of the glass bottles Izumi advises against carrying or wearing the little worlds, but it seems almost impossible to imagine owning something this sweet and not wearing it around to show to the entire life-size world.

Izumi’s Etsy shop TinyWorldInABottle showcases his incredible miniature works of art, letting anyone own a magical little world of his or her very own.

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Nontraditional Wedding Cakes For The Creative Couple

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Nontraditional Wedding Cakes For The Creative Couple: [ By Marc in Gadgets & Geek Art & Various Uncategorized. ]

Wedding cakes are the ultimate showpiece for any skilled baker. No matter how amazing one’s cakes are when making the typical elegant creation that most brides and grooms want, the real test is how one handles a more creative request.

(Images via the-weddingdresses, weirdomatic, wedding-cake, gearfuse, stressawaybridal, graphicshunt)

The easiest way to make a cake out of the ordinary is to top it with a creative bride and groom. Everyone is familiar with the standard couple standing stately at the top of an elegant cake, but how about the bride carrying the groom? Or the two fighting off a wave of cake zombies?

(Images via theukweddingshows, squirrelsviews)

Videogame nerds often marry videogame nerds. The result? Videogame wedding cakes that blow the lid of wedding cake conventions.

(Images via sudhiart, sudhiart, weddingandcakes, tie-the-knot-blog)

Giving a baker some creative license can yield the most interesting cakes of all. Giant war ships on the open sea, luggage to showcase the couple’s mutual love of travel, or entire scenes from their lives can be sculpted and eaten by an excited wedding party.

(Images via sclick, greatwhitesnark, getinmahbelly, sclick)

A Star Wars wedding cake is arguably the best idea anyone has ever had. Clearly several people have decided to go this route, as the variety of cakes is broad and the quality, fantastic.

(Images via askginka, fandomania, thebrideguides, prepare-to-wed)

Some creative wedding cakes are quite a bit on the quirky side. One assumes that some of these creations are groom’s cakes, which tend to have more flexibility for fun versus elegance.

(Images via zitamok, steampunkcostume)

Here are two cakes that will cause a stir. An intricate leaning tower of Pisa and a steampunk-styled creation are both eye-catching conversation starters. The only difficulty is how to cut them!

(Images via wiccanmakesometoo, weddinggo, weddingwire, brideorama)

Yes, Goths do get married, and yes, they do have gothic-themed wedding cakes. Some are able to capture an elegant balance between dark and light, while some go even more macabre with icing that looks a lot like blood…

(Images via yowazzup, knotforlife, wedding-cakes-for-you)

So many girls have dreams of their perfect wedding, and they also have dreams of marrying their own prince charming in the process. Why not combine the two and display the fulfillment of these goals with a giant castle cake? These towering creations are eye-catching and look like a lot of fun to eat.

(Images via funzu, newsfeed, wedding-gallery)

Some wedding couples either have a great sense of humor, or a lot of latent aggression. These cakes are a bit hostile, to say the least, but they succeed in their aim: to grab everyone’s attention!

Beneficial Bacteria: 12 Ways Microbes Help The Environment

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Beneficial Bacteria: 12 Ways Microbes Help The Environment: [ By Steph in Energy & Fuel & History & Trivia & Science & Research. ]

We have become obsessed with eliminating bacteria, attacking with gels and wipes the microbes we associate with infection, illness and death. But not only are many types of bacteria actually helpful, some strains may hold the key to fighting global warming, cleaning up pollution, breaking down plastic and even developing a cure for cancer. These 12 amazing discoveries demonstrate the many ways in which microscopic organisms help maintain the health of our own bodies and the entire planet.

Gulf Oil Spill Gases Eaten by Bacteria

(images via: wikimedia commons)

Certain types of bacteria can actually clean up troublesome environmental pollutants like spilled petroleum. In fact, a specific strain called Alcanivorax drastically increases in population when an oil spill provides them with large amounts of food, so that they’re able to remove much of the oil. They’re at work on the Deepwater Horizon spill in the Gulf of Mexico right now, and while they certainly can’t undo the vast damage that has been done to this region as a result, they definitely provide a beneficial effect.

Bacteria Eat Pollution and Generate Electricity

(images via: science news)

Bacteria with tiny wire-like appendages called nanowires not only digest toxic waste – including PCBs and chemical solvents – they produce electricity while they’re at it. One type in particular, called Shewanella, is a deep-sea bacteria that grows these oxygen-seeking nanowires when placed in low-oxygen environments. Researchers discovered that when the microbes’ nanowires are pricked with platinum electrodes, they can carry a current. If these capabilities can be harnessed effectively, they could one day be used in sewage treatment plants to simultaneously digest waste and power the facilities.

Geobacter Consume Radioactive Contamination

(images via: wikimedia commons, sharenator)

The nanowires grown by certain types of bacteria can also be used to immobilize harmful materials – like uranium – and keep them from spreading. A research team at Michigan State University has learned that Geobacter bacteria, which is found naturally in soil, essentially electroplates uranium, rendering it insoluble so it can’t dissolve and contaminate groundwater. These bacteria can be brought into uranium contamination sites like mines and nuclear plants in order to contain the radiation, potentially limiting the disastrous consequences of these types of spills.

Plastic-Eating Bacteria Breaks Down Bags

(image via: katerha)

Non-biodegradable and far too ubiquitous on this planet, plastic becomes a big problem when it comes to disposal. But in 2008, a Canadian student carried out a truly amazing science experiment in which bacteria were able to consume plastic. Since then, research teams have been working on developing this ability and using it to our benefit. A professor at the University of Dublin got the bacteria to metabolize cooked-down plastic bottles into a new type of plastic that’s actually biodegradable.

Earlier this year, scientists discovered that bacteria are already breaking down plastic debris in the world’s oceans on their own, though they’re not yet sure whether this will have a positive or negative effect on the environment. Items like fishing line and plastic bags are devoured by these bacteria; the problem is that the waste that the bacteria then produce could potentially be harmful to ocean ecosystems as it travels up the food chain.

Nylon-Eating Bacteria Clean Up Factory Waste

(image via: ingrid taylar)

We count on a polymer called Nylon 6 for all kinds of everyday uses like toothbrushes, surgical sutures, ropes, hosiery and strings for instruments like violins. The manufacture of this material produces toxic byproducts that get carried out in waste water – but – you guessed it – there’s a bacterium for that, too. Flavobacterium actually evolved to produce special enzymes to digest these byproducts that they didn’t have previously, and that aren’t seen in similar bacterial strains.

In fact, the ability to produce these enzymes in order to consume a material that didn’t even exist prior to the invention of nylon in 1935 is often used as evidence against the theory of creationism, which denies that any new information can be added to a genome by mutation.

Metabolizing Methane, A Greenhouse Gas

(images via: livescience)

One of the most dangerous greenhouse gases, methane is produced by all sorts of industrial and natural processes, including the decomposition of our own waste and that of livestock. Scientists fighting global warming are struggling to find ways to control the effects of methane, but one solution could come from a simple single-celled microorganism. Some types of bacteria use copper from the environment to metabolize methane, eliminating both the greenhouse gas and toxic heavy metals all at once.

Researchers are still trying to determine how to use this in real-world applications, but some options may include venting methane emissions through filters of these bacteria. What’s more, after eating the methane, the bacteria turn it into methanol – so we can harvest their waste for use as fuel.

Turning Newspapers into Car Fuel

(images via: striatic)

Microbes named T-103, found in animal waste, can produce the biofuel butanol by eating paper. Tulane University developed a method for growing the cellulose-consuming microbes so they can produce fuel in the presence of oxygen, which is lethal to other butanol-producing bacteria. This could make the whole fuel production process far less expensive and thus more potentially applicable in the real world. The researchers say that butanol produces more energy than ethanol, which is produced from corn sugar, and doesn’t require engine modifications. It can also be carried through existing fuel pipelines.

Soil-Dwelling Bacteria Kills Cancer

(images via: wikimedia commons)

Cancer and bacteria don’t go well together – at least, when you’re talking about immune response. But one type of bacteria, called Clostridium sporogenes, may actually be used to deliver drugs in cancer therapy thanks to its ability to target tumors. Professor Nigel Minton of the University of Nottingham has learned that C. sporogenes will only grow in oxygen-depleted environments – like the center of solid tumors. When injected into a tumor log with cancer drugs, the bacteria can help the drugs kill the tumor cells without affecting healthy tissue. Researchers expect to have a streamlined strain developed for use in a clinical trial by 2013.

Panda Poop Bacteria Makes Biofuel

(images via: wikimedia commons)

“Who would have guessed that ‘panda poop’ might help solve one of the major hurdles to producing biofuels, which is optimizing the breakdown of the raw plant materials used to make the fuels?” says Ashli Brown, Ph.D., co-author of a study on how bacteria in panda feces can break down a super-tough plant material known as lignocellulose. This discovery could speed up development of plant-based biofuels that don’t rely on food crops. Several types of digestive bacteria found in the panda feces are similar to those found in termites, which of course are pros at digesting wood.

This doesn’t necessarily mean that panda waste will suddenly be in demand for the production of biofuels – that would probably be a lost cause, given the extremely precarious status of the species. The bacteria that have been identified for their cellulose-processing abilities will be isolated and grown on a commercial scale. However, it does prove how important biodiversity really is, and that many species around the world may have more to offer than we realize.

Turning Human Waste into Rocket Fuel

(images via: elvertbarnes, wikimedia commons)

Pandas aren’t the only species whose waste may hold the key to producing fuel. With the help of the bacteria Brocadia anammoxidans, human sewage could be transformed into hydrazine, better known as rocket fuel. The bacteria naturally consume ammonia and produce hydrazine in the process. Until their discovery, scientists thought that hydrazine was only a man-made substance. However, this is less of a boon to NASA than it is to sewage treatment plants. In standard plants, waste-eating bacteria require oxygen to be pumped in with power-chugging equipment, so this development could save a lot of money.

Sulphur-Eating Bacteria Reduce Acid Run-Off

(image via: wikimedia commons)

When sulphur in mine tailings from mining operations react with water and oxygen, they produce toxic sulphuric acid, a major environmental problem which may also be contributing to climate change. Researchers at McMaster University found that two species of bacteria isolated from a mine tailings pond in northern Ontario work together to use sulphur as an energy source, producing and consuming each other’s sulphur-containing waste in a cycle that reduces the amount of toxic runoff Acid Mine Drainage (AMD). This runoff dissolves carbonate rocks and releases CO2, worsening climate change, so the more it is reduced, the less carbon dioxide gas is released into the atmosphere.

Probiotic Bacteria That Treat Depression & Anxiety

(images via: alancleaver_2000)

We already know that beneficial bacteria play an incredibly important role in our own biology, helping with everything from dental health to digestion. But probiotic bacteria may even alter brain neurochemistry, helping to treat anxiety and depression-related disorders. Researchers at McMaster University in Canada and University College Cork in Ireland demonstrated that mice fed with the probiotic Lactobacillus rhamnosus JB-1 showed a marked decrease in stress, anxiety and depression-related behaviors as well as lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol. This opens the door to potential microbial-based treatments for psychiatric disorders.

Radical Rings: 31 One-of-a-Kind Ring Designs & Ideas

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Radical Rings: 31 One-of-a-Kind Ring Designs & Ideas: [ By Steph in Architecture & Design & Gadgets & Geek Art. ]

High-tech, brilliant and just plain bizarre, these 31 rings aren’t exactly your standard precious gemstone set in a valuable metal band. Sterilized human teeth, living plants, replicas of food and creepily realistic representations of body parts challenge notions of beauty in jewelry while tiny projectors, pillows, books and programmed end dates provide unusual functions.

Teeth Rings by Polly van der Glas

(images via:

Outfit your fingers with four human teeth – complete with cavities and amalgam fillings – or go a little more subtle with three incisors or a single statement-making molar. These bizarre handmade creations by Australian artist Polly van der Glas are made with donated, sterilized teeth set onto silver rings. The artist (who also makes jewelry with human hair) says, “When attached to the body, we praise hair and teeth that adhere to the rules. They are key sites where body beauty is defined. Yet when they are shed, their meaning and value undergoes a dramatic transformation. Polly’s work explores this transformation in meaning, and uses it to destabilise ideas about beauty.”

Projector Ring

(image via:

In a darkened room, shine a light through this incredible one-of-a-kind ring by Luke Jerram and jeweler Tamrakar and it will project a selection of miniature slides onto a surface like a wall or a piece of paper. Jerram, who created it as a wedding ring for his own wife, explains, “The ring was my first prototype and was made by hacking apart disposal cameras to find the right lens I needed.” Unfortunately, the ring was stolen, but Jerram replaced it with an equally beautiful and unusual ring. The Talking Ring has a 20 second recorded message – Jerram’s proposal – etched onto its surface. The message can be played back with a miniature record player.

Crayon Rings by Timothy Liles

(image via:

They look like simple, colorful plastic rings, but they’re even more fun than that. Brooklyn-based designer Timothy Liles produced these ‘crayon rings’, which are actual functioning washable crayons sold in packs of eight.

Cactus Rings by Barbara Uderzo

(images via:

These organic rings by Barbara Uderzo are planters in which beautiful, prickly succulents are planted. They’d certainly make a punch more painful.

Pilo-Pilo Cushioned Ring

(image via:

Have you ever rested your head on your hand only to find that your knuckles are uncomfortably sharp? No? Well, the makers of the Pilo-Pilo Ring think that you could use some extra padding when you’re “thinking, daydreaming… falling asleep” or perhaps some comfort “when you got stood up on a date.” So basically, it’s like a miniature boyfriend pillow?

Digitus Ring by Charles Widlin

(images via: yanko design)

This concept by Charles Widlin holds 1,400 magnetic spheres which rotate into place according to micro computer circuitry, displaying letters or numbers without the use of LCD screens. Widlin imagines that the Digitus Ring could be used to display the time, or an important date.

Sculptural Flower Rings by Alidra Alic

(images via:

This is more than just jewelry – it’s a wearable sculpture. Alidra Alic creates stunningly complex floral jewelry created using a plastic technique in conjunction with sterling silver and semi-precious gemstones. “Furthermore I work with themes of illusion and lack of function in order to awake my viewers’ curiosity and to show jewelry in new value contexts,” says the artist.

Love Letter Ring by Colleen Baran

(images via: colleenbaran)

Leave a loved one a special message whenever the mood strikes with one of jeweler Colleen Baran’s ‘Love Letter’ Rings, which print messages like ‘I miss you the second you leave’ when use with water-based inks.

Sound Wave Wedding Bands

(images via: sakura koshimizu)

Preserve your words in a highly unusual piece of jewelry with Sakura Koshimizu’s Sound Wave wedding bands. The artist turns a short sound clip into sound waves which are laser-etched into gold, silver or steel.

Belly Button Ring… For Your Finger

(images via: yuyen chang)

No, it’s not a ring that you put in a navel piercing – it’s a disturbingly realistic recreation of a naval, on a ring. Metalsmith Yuyen Chang has designed an entire line of ‘orifice jewelry’ including brooches and pendants, in case you’re eager to buy a matching set.

Remember Ring Won’t Let You Forget

(image via: alaska jewelry)

If you buy the Remember Ring, you’ll never forget your anniversary again – because your finger will gradually get hotter and hotter until you’re physically uncomfortable. The ring uses a ‘micro thermopile’ to convert the heat from your hand into electricity. You specify your anniversary date, which is programmed into the ring. 24 hours before your special day, the ring will gradually heat up, “but not hot enough to burn,” so say the jewelers.

Architecture Rings by Philippe Tournaire

(images via:

Wear your love for architecture on your finger with platinum or gold diamond rings shaped like buildings. Parisian jeweler Philippe Tournaire recreates structures from around the world including his home city, Moscow, New York and more, and has even made replicas of entire city blocks.

Mmm… Miniature Food Replica Rings

(images via: souzou creations)

As if you needed another reason to daydream about lunch until noon rolls around, these rings by SouZou Creations will have you salivating over cupcakes, pizza, spaghetti and pie. These quirky kawaii-style creations made of plastic, glass, metal and ceramic are the work of Sofia, a Canadian living in Japan.

Book Ring by Ana Cardim

(images via:

Ever wish you always had some paper at your fingertips, so you could write things down whenever the mood strikes, no matter where you are? This miniature notebook ring by Ana Cardim makes that possible, though you’ll have to think of another way to carry a pen.

Pimple Popper – Grossest Ring Ever?

(images via: artbywinona)

Who hasn’t looked down at their finger and wished that what they saw there was a disgusting pustule about to pop? An Etsy seller called ArtbyWinona makes that dream (or nightmare, depending on your perspective) come true with this ring made of sterling silver, freshwater pearl, copper and enamel. Says the artist, “I am just going to come out and say it…..I like popping pimples, zits, black heads, white heads, you name it I like to pick at it! Disgusting I know, but I have a feeling I am not alone. I am just one of the few that will admit it and come out of the closet."

Sealander: Swimming Caravan Traverses Land & Water Alike

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Sealander: Swimming Caravan Traverses Land & Water Alike: [ Filed under House Boats & in the Architecture category ]

A hybrid mobile trailer, mini-home and motorboat, this ingenious portable space has gotten off the ground quickly (and literally).

An integral waterproof chassis lets you roll the German-made Sealander right down into the water sans accessories; its bowl-shaped form makes it stable both overland on on the sea, suited for deep and shallow waterways alike.

Inside, modular pieces can be customized based on the needs of the user – tables and benches are adjustable and removable, for starters, also flipping down and up into various positions for multiple functions.

Meanwhile, while amenities and appliances are added and subtracted around them for cold food storage, warm food preparation, sleeping and so forth.

A low-emission electric outboard motor makes it suitable for largely unlicensed uses in lakes and streams.

Fold-down metal stairs make climbing on and off when it is dry-docked for use as a camper a simple matter as well.

Now if we could only make Airstream trailers actually fly, we could finally exhaust every last possibility for mobile homes.