A resident of South Central L.A. decided to combat obesity by planting a garden instead of grass. This guy is not just a gardener. He’s a brilliant entrepreneur and an inspiration. Somebody introduce him to Michelle Obama, quick…
A Guerilla Gardener in South Central LA
Ron Finley | TED | Mar 13
________________________________________________________________________________ Artist and designer Ron Finley couldn’t help but notice what was going on in his backyard. “South Central Los Angeles,” he quips, “home of the drive-thru and the drive-by.” And it’s the drive-thru fast-food stands that contribute more to the area’s poor health and high mortality rate, with one in two kids contracting a curable disease like Type 2 diabetes.
Finley’s vision for a healthy, accessible “food forest” started with the curbside veggie garden he planted in the strip of dirt in front of his own house. When the city tried to shut it down, Finley’s fight gave voice to a larger movement that provides nourishment, empowerment, education — and healthy, hopeful futures — one urban garden at a time.
The last time I tried to sculpt something was when I was in High School. I got as far as making a sort of ‘bowl’ to store my paper clip collection. Next time you visit your favorite art museum take a few minutes to look at the sculpture. Try something by Bellini or Michelangelo. Take a look at the hands. Now look at this video…
Sculpting The Hand
Philippe Faraut | PhilippeFaraut.com | 17 Mar 13
________________________________________________________________________________ Philippe Faraut received his degree in woodcarving and the construction of French fine furniture from Germain Sommeillier in Annecy, France, his boyhood home. An avid traveler, Philippe’s destinations have allowed him the opportunity to study the cultures of many countries in Europe, Asia, Africa and the Caribbean, thus influencing his work in portraiture sculpting. After establishing residence in the Chesapeake Bay area of Virginia, he developed an interest in modeling the head in clay. Soon thereafter, he relocated his studio to New York State and began teaching sculpting classes.
Design is about solving problems. Here’s a good example. Around the world people still fetch water in buckets, carrying them long distances on their heads. This limits the amount they can carry and isn’t great on their spines. With a simple design like this even kids can move fifty gallons of eater and have fun doing it.
TriFilm Productions | YouTube | Apr 09
If you’re interested in helping make the Q-Drum available to more people, visit their website at http://www.qdrum.co.za/
A quadr0copter is a robotic device which looks like a miniature helicopter with four rotors. It is controlled by a computer which is linked to visual and other sensors giving the device virtual ‘real-time’ observation of its environment. The time from the observation to actuation of a suitable response is remarkable, as evidenced by this video of two quadrocopters tossing a vertically balanced pole to each other. They do it faultlessly, over and over. I would have a hard time doing it once. But then, I’m no robot…
Quadrocopter Pole Acrobatics
Flying Machine Arena
A Space Where Flying Robots Live and Learn
The Flying Machine Arena (FMA) is a portable space devoted to autonomous flight. Measuring up to 10 x 10 x 10 meters, it consists of a high-precision motion capture system, a wireless communication network, and custom software executing sophisticated algorithms for estimation and control.
The motion capture system can locate multiple objects in the space at rates exceeding 200 frames per second. While this may seem extremely fast, the objects in the space can move at speeds in excess of 10 m/s, resulting in displacements of over 5 cm between successive snapshots. This information is fused with other data and models of the system dynamics to predict the state of the objects into the future.
The system uses this knowledge to determine what commands the vehicles should execute next to achieve their desired behavior, such as performing high-speed flips, balancing objects, building structures, or engaging in a game of paddle-ball. Then, via wireless links, the system sends the commands to the vehicles, which execute them with the aid of on-board computers and sensors such as rate gyros and accelerometers.
Although various objects can fly in the FMA, the machine of choice is the quadrocopter due to its agility, its mechanical simplicity and robustness, and its ability to hover. Furthermore, the quadrocopter is a great platform for research in adaptation and learning: it has well understood, low order first-principle models near hover, but is difficult to characterize when performing high-speed maneuvers due to complex aerodynamic effects. We cope with the difficult to model effects with algorithms that use first-principle models to roughly determine what a vehicle should do to perform a given task, and then learn and adapt based on flight data.
The image below was created by Chris Jordan, a Seattle-based artist who focuses on the impact of human behavior on the environment. The piece depicted here is called “Unsinkable”. In the chilling text accompanying this piece Jordan describes the nuclear time bomb sitting under the remains of Japan’s Fukushima power plant. You can view this piece and others in Jordan’s remarkable collection at ChrisJordan.com…
Chris Jordan | ChrisJordan.com | 2013
Depicts 67,000 mushroom clouds, equal to the number of metric tons of ultra-radioactive uranium/plutonium waste being stored in temporary pools at the 104 nuclear power plants across the U.S. These waste pools must be cooled with hundreds of thousands of gallons of constantly circulating water, and many plants have inadequate or nonexistent backup cooling systems in case of power loss. In the U.S. and around the world, the waste pools are under-protected, over-filled, and vulnerable to earthquakes, storms, malfeasance, and human error. In 1997 the Brookhaven National Laboratory estimated that a calamity at just one of these waste pools in the U.S. could cause 138,000 American deaths (more than the number of Japanese who died in the 1945 bombing of Hiroshima), and contaminate 2,000 square miles of our land.
Currently, the waste pool in Reactor Unit 4 at Japan’s Fukushima-Daiichi plant is at risk for collapse. The building is unstable, and the cracked and leaking pool contains 262 tons of ultra-radioactive uranium/plutonium waste. For months, Fukushima has been experiencing numerous earthquakes from magnitude 4.1 to 6.2, sometimes several per day. If a magnitude 7 earthquake were to occur, causing the Unit 4 waste pool to rupture and drain, the resulting meltdown and fires could release ten times more airborne radioactive material than was released by the Chernobyl disaster. At that point humans could no longer enter or operate the facility, potentially leading to a chain reaction of meltdown events at Fukushima’s five other units, releasing 85 times as much radiation as the Chernobyl disaster.
The United States lies downwind of Fukushima, only a few days across the Pacific via the jet stream. The jet stream would carry radioactive material into the interior of the United States, eventually circling the globe and reaching the entire northern hemisphere within weeks or months. The amount of radiation released “would destroy the world environment and our civilization,” according to Robert Alvarez, former Senior Policy Adviser for National Security and the Environment at the U.S. Department of Energy.
________________________________________________________________________________ Chris Jordan is an artist based in Seattle, Washington who is best known for his large scale works depicting mass consumption and waste, particularly garbage. He has been called “the ‘it’ artist of the green movement”. Chris is currently working on “Midway”, a feature documentary on the impact of pollution on bird populations, including albatrosses, in the pacific island of Midway.
When the first astronauts traveled into space their view was outward, toward the moon, the planets and beyond. Surprisingly, the view that may have the most impact is the one from space back to our planet—Carl Sagan’s ‘Pale Blue Dot’. In this exquisite video five astronauts share their experience of the view of earth from space. If you need inspiration to care about climate change or saving the planet (or just want to see some incredible views of earth from space) you should watch this film…
________________________________________________________________________________ Planetary Collective is a group of filmmakers, visual media creatives and thinkers who work with cosmologists, ecologists and philosophers to explore some of the big questions facing our planet at this time.
Every generation produces explorers and adventurers who strive to ‘push the envelope’. Today the envelope is flying off Alpine cliffs or jumping from helicopter skids wearing a ‘wingsuit’, a sort of ‘batman’ outfit that turns a human being into a soaring creature that hurtles toward the valley below at speeds well over 100 mph. The people who do this are addicted to adrenaline thrills few of us can even imagine. This is living on the edge of the edge…
Ludovic Woerth & Jokke Sommer | YouTube | 25 Jan 13
Note… Best viewed at full screen by clicking the icon in the lower right corner.
I love to watch videos of how the world is supposed to look today from, in this case, 46 years ago. Good old Walter tells us all about the marvels of life in the 21st century. It’s a world of technological wonder. He doesn’t say anything about budgets, sequestration, drone warfare, torture, assault weapons, murdered school kids, gay boy scouts, North Korean nukes, extraordinary rendition, global warming, stray asteroids or homeland insecurity. They didn’t have those things back then. Just Russian subs armed with hydrogen bombs. Guess you can call that progress…
Walter Cronkite in the Home Office of the Twenty-First Century