Date Archives June 2012

Wendy, an installation that cleans the air and beautifies the city

Wendy, an installation at MoMA PS1by HWKN

Wendy, an installation at MoMA PS1by HWKN

Wendy, an installation at MoMA PS1by HWKN

Meet Wendy, an installation in the courtyard of MoMA PS1 for the remainder of the summer. Wendy is the brainchild of HWKN, a New York based firm that beat out four other finalists for the chance to realize their project. One of the more interesting things about the project is its attitude about environmental responsibility. Instead of adopting passive strategies, Wendy elects to use active ones:

“Wendy is composed of nylon fabric treated with a ground breaking titania nanoparticle spray to neutralize airborne pollutants. During the summer of 2012, Wendy will clean the air to an equivalent of taking 260 cars off the road.”

In a lot of ways, the project is like an angry-looking raincloud. Wendy provides shade for folks underneath her, and a series of fans blows mist through the mesh that covers her spiky arms. But Wendy doesn’t have a silver lining, she has a titania coating.

Pogo releases a new ‘Pulp Fiction’ based remix video called ‘Lead Breakfast’

Pogo releases a new 'Pulp Fiction' based remix video called 'Lead Breakfast'

Pogo releases a new 'Pulp Fiction' based remix video called 'Lead Breakfast'

Don’t know I missed it but Pogo released a new remix video called Lead Breakfast a little over a week ago. This time around he’s taken Tarantino’s classic Pulp Fiction and made it into a musical montage of epic proportions. I feel like he’s really outdone himself on this one, and I think it’s good that he’s taken a more mature theme to remix, perhaps moving on from his Disney/kid film roots. Be sure to watch this super loud with all of your co-workers around your desk!

There are (possible) oceans under Titan, Saturn’s largest moon

Descent Panorama of Titan

Saturn and it's moons

When NASA’s Cassini dropped into orbit by Saturn it wasn’t just there for the planet. It was there to observe the sixty moons as well. It’s long been speculated but never confirmed that Titan could possibly contain water. The extent of which has never been proven until recently.

Lead study author Luciano Iess, a planetary geodesist (I honestly don’t know what that is and I took astronomy in college) at Università La Sapienza in Rome observed some crazy stuff by examining the gravitational field around the planet. Titan hides water deep in itself as its solid exterior glides and shifts on top of it. And the gravitational forces pull it relentlessly, giving hints to a possible ocean and (extremely theoretically) a place that could eventually sustain life. It could be methane – but that type of ocean can sustain life as well.

As they said on

To get a glimpse into Titan’s mysterious interior, scientists relied on NASA’s Cassini spacecraft, which has orbited Saturn since 2004. They focused on the extraordinarily powerful tides the planet’s gravitational pull causes its moons to experience — tides ferocious enough to have once ripped apart titanic chunks of ice to produce the world’s rings. Titan itself faces tidal effects up to 400 times greater than our moon’s draw on Earth.

By monitoring how Cassini’s acceleration changed during six close flybys past Titan between 2006 and 2011, the researchers deduced the strength of the moon’s gravity field. Since a body’s gravity stems from its mass, these details helped reveal how matter is distributed within Titan and how this changed depending on how near or far the moon was from Saturn during its oval-shaped 16-day orbit around the planet.

Crazy. Awesome. Crazy awesome.

Space Suit of the Week

Werner Büdeler: Projekt Apollo - Das Abanteuer der Mondlandung. Bertelsmann Sachbuchverlag, 1969

Werner Büdeler: Projekt Apollo - Das Abanteuer der Mondlandung. Bertelsmann Sachbuchverlag, 1969

Werner Büdeler: Projekt Apollo - Das Abanteuer der Mondlandung. Bertelsmann Sachbuchverlag, 1969

How bizarre it is to see astronauts in extreme situations while safe on earth. The above depictions of space suit tests (noise, cold and heat respectively) were included in Werner Büdeler’s Projekt Apollo – Das Abanteuer der Mondlandung (Bertelsmann Sachbuchverlag, 1969). Projekt Apollo recounts the complete story of the Apollo missions and is stuffed with illustrations andphotographs. Büdeler was a German aerospace journalist and nonfiction writer. In 1970, he was awards the Jules-Verne medal for aerospace journalism. These look like they could be inserts into a Jules Verne science fiction narrative of brave explorers gearing up for the next beautifully bizarre mission, rather than the work of non-fiction.

Imaginative, voyeuristic illustrations by Rebecca Mock

Rebecca Mock's imaginative illustrations

Rebecca Mock's imaginative illustrations

Came upon these illustrations from Brooklyn based illustrator Rebecca Mock and was totally sucked into them. A lot of her work is character based, a lot of fun and beautiful illustrations about Power Rangers and polyamorous relationships, but these pieces seem so mysterious and interesting to me.

The top piece is called The Old Maple Tree Whispered To Her That Everything Would Be Okay, which is a great title. I love how odd it is, that the focus is on this great mess of a tree, and there’s only a small fragment of a woman peeking out. Reminds me of a scene you’d find in a Murakami novel. The other piece is a self-portrait she did of herself, which I feel is similar in tone. You feel almost voyuerisitic viewing these pieces, that the subject isn’t aware of your presence and you’re getting a look at some intimiate moment. Really splendid work.

‘Baby’, a soulful new track from Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti

Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti

I was listening to Morning Becomes Eclectic the morning when this really great, soul song came on the radio. I listened for a minute, really enjoying it but not sure who it was. So I Shazam’ed it, and oddly enough, it ended up being Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti, which totally shocked the hell out of me.

I really liked their last album quite a lot, though it was sort of a 50/50 good bad sort of feeling. The good was really good, but the rest was just ok, you know? This song though, Baby, this is a jam. It’s amazing how Ariel can channel these old school song stylings but still kind of make it feel fresh and new, shoo bop shoo bop’s and all. Their new album Mature Themes comes out on August 20, so this song makes me pretty excited for it.

I wanna’ be like Jack Dorsey

Jack Dorsey

Late last night Wired published a wonderful piece on Jack Dorsey, the man behind Twitter and Square. Oft compared to Steve Jobs (but essentially nothing like him), it was cool to see such an in-depth piece on him. He’s such an inspiring guy, I mean, he’s only 35 and look at all that he’s done. Here’s a snippet I loved.

Like Jobs, Dorsey has proclivities that have helped him build something of a cult of personality. Every Friday he indoctrinates new employees with a forced march through the streets of San Francisco, beginning at the statue of Mahatma Gandhi at the Ferry Building, heading into the canyons of the Financial District, and emerging in the startup haven south of Market Street where Square resides. During the walk, Dorsey outlines what he calls the Four Corners of Square. “It’s something that codifies our ethic,” he says. “I really spent a lot of time on it.” But he is mum on the details of this vaguely Masonic concept. “If I told you, you’d have to work here,” he says with a tight smile.

Dorsey also boasts a Jobs-like obsession with design and detail. In early 2011 he became captivated by the idea of using a wallet metaphor in a Square app. William Henderson, a former Apple operating system specialist who now works as a software engineer at Square, says, “Jack got so excited that he came to work one day with a stack of 10 leather wallets.” For hours, Dorsey and his team deconstructed every detail. He was especially fond of the Hermè8s. (He adores the brand and pronounces its name “air-MEZH,” as if he were raised in a duty-free shop.) The team designed a digital wallet that faithfully replicated its austere majesty, down to the stitching. It even carried a monogram, extracting initials from the user’s registration information and dropping the trailing dot after the second initial, just as Hermè8s does. The credit cards, which fit into their slots at slightly asymmetrical angles, were stamped with holograms that changed color when the screen was tilted.