Archive for February, 2009

Thomas Demand

Today is a sad day; I missed a talk of Thomas Demand, a fantastic German artist who was invited at the Southbank Centre in London to give a talk about the techniques he uses to create his art. What makes those pictures fascinating is not much the impressive level of detail and realism he manages to obtain with paper models, rather the inherent “wrongness” of those shots; there’s not typography, not a single word can be spotted, making each shot so disorienting and yet so familiar. Too bad for the terrible quality of the pictures on his website; fortunately the book compensates for this.

Typesetting on a Linotype

John Gruber talks about the “Save” dialog as an example of friction in software: that required step that annoyingly sits between you and what you want to accomplish. Then what about this one as an example of friction? Makes me think that the smaller the friction is the more annoying it is, because under a certain level it could probably be eliminated altogether; typesetting machine friction instead creates an hard to solve problem, and as such a very fascinating one. Typography is even more Black Magic after watching this.

Urban Grazing


I’m exploring ways to achieve zero food waste. I will employ a wormery and implement an ‘urban grazing’ experiment where I hang excess food that is still good out of my window for passers by to enjoy.

This system works at the very end of the production chain, or in LCA terms just moments before the product’s end of life. As we haven’t yet found a way to recycle excess food that we can hardly avoid purchasing – composting doesn’t count – Cathrine has found a way to pre-cycle it: hang it off your window, if you have one. This idea reminds me of Freecycle or “clothing-exchange days” with a touch of Middle Ages flavour; the nice thing about it is that it could never work as an online free-listing; it would be too impractical to list an ad for “two bananas” or “one apple” or anything else we feel we might not eat. It would be nice one day to walk on streets and be surrounded by dangling boxes full of free excesses.

Anatomy of a crash

Found via

0 milliseconds – An external object touches the driver’s door.

1 ms – The car’s door pressure sensor detects a pressure wave.

2 ms – An acceleration sensor in the C-pillar behind the rear door also detects a crash event.

2.5 ms – A sensor in the car’s centre detects crash vibrations.

5 ms – Car’s crash computer checks for insignificant crash events, such as a shopping trolley impact or incidental contact. It is still working out the severity of the crash. Door intrusion structure begins to absorb energy.

6.5 ms – Door pressure sensor registers peak pressures.

7 ms – Crash computer confirms a serious crash and calculates its actions.

8 ms – Computer sends a “fire” signal to side airbag. Meanwhile, B-pillar begins to crumple inwards and energy begins to transfer into cross-car load path beneath the occupant.

8.5 ms – Side airbag system fires.

15 ms – Roof begins to absorb part of the impact. Airbag bursts through seat foam and begins to fill.

17 ms – Cross-car load path and structure under rear seat reach maximum load. Airbag covers occupant’s chest and begins to push the shoulder away from impact zone.

20 ms – Door and B-pillar begin to push on front seat. Airbag begins to push occupant’s chest away from the impact.

27 ms – Impact velocity has halved from 50 km/h to 23.5 km/h. A “pusher block” in the seat moves occupant’s pelvis away from impact zone. Airbag starts controlled deflation.

30 ms – The Falcon has absorbed all crash energy. Airbag remains in place. For a brief moment, occupant experiences maximum force equal to 12 times the force of gravity.

45 ms – Occupant and airbag move together with deforming side structure.

50 ms – Crash computer unlocks car’s doors. Passenger safety cell begins to rebound, pushing doors away from occupant.

70 ms – Airbag continues to deflate. Occupant moves back towards middle of car. Engineers classify crash as “complete”.

150-300 ms – Occupant becomes aware of collision.

Wow, at least something cares about you before you die.

Adobe. Everyday Timesavers (?!)

By these videos it looks like Adobe is having a hard time selling the Creative Suite (CS4). By these videos it looks like Adobe is having a hard time making me appreciate the great ROI these apps are supposed to have. Kind of the same way Microsoft almost convinced me to buy Vista with this.

f/8 and be there

So true:

f/1.4 lenses that can turn night into day and let photographers focus on only the details they want, throwing unwanted backgrounds into blurriness.

And this, the real spoiler:

Be merciless with your photos. If right now you’re showing almost everything, try showing half. If you’re showing half, try showing a quarter. Try showing your best five of the day. Best one of the week. Depending on your uses, editing alone will immediately improve your work.

Full article here (via, via

Glowing Cities Under a Nighttime Sky ↝

The Histogram as the Image ↝


Russian Wooden Windows ↝

Beautiful collection of pictures of intricately carved wood windows and old russian houses.

CX1-9MP-CMOS-7.1x-28-200mm-HDR-12EV ↝

Dynamic range double shot mode expands the camera’s dynamic range up to a maximum equivalent of 12 EV.

Nice one, Ricoh.

The Trilogy Meter Graph ↝

Frankly I’m surprised by how many sequels were better than the original. And I’m not surprised that the 3rd movie is never the best.

I personally agree with most but Lord of the Rings, which for me should have a negative value rating rather than an even high positve. Via FlowingData.

Wanker ↝


Sequel Pro — Native OSX MySQL app. ↝

Adieu, phpMyAdmin. Bonjour Sequel Pro, a great looking fork of CocoaMySQL. I found this link-hopping from Daringfireball, where Querious – commerical license – is mentioned in relation to the now inactive CocoaMySQL, which now lives as Sequel Pro.

Chinese Fireworks ↝

Creepy and spectacular, especially next to Rem Koolhaas’ CCTV building.

The Smallest Font on the Web ↝

Do you remember Gmunk a.k.a. Bradley Munkowitz? He relaunched his website; I think the last update roughly corresponds to the same time I switched my 56k US Robotics modem for a 64k ISDN connection when I was still living in Rome. One notable point, he’s using a 6px font, which is so ’98.

Friction in Software ↝

Dive in for a bath of Gruberian Wisdom and some Observational Sharpness.

We don’t always floss our teeth. We’ll pick the burger and fries instead of the salad. We’ll have one more beer. And sometimes we just don’t feel like dealing with the Save dialog box yet so we’ll put it off.

SourceMap, supply chain visualization. ↝

Fascinating and ambitious project by MIT. The homepage says it is in private beta, but it seems to allow full anonymous access to the source maps anyway.

New Project Online: Playgrounds


My current work, Playgrounds, is now online. This is the first visible product of an ongoing project; in many ways it is a “reality check” of the concept. It is a series of three shots, 90 seconds each, simulating over-cranked exposures of unsettling office environments. For now, I will leave any further interpretation open, hoping you will enjoy watching it.

The Crisis of Credit Visualized ↝

Credit Crunch can be entertaining. By Jonathan Jarvis.

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button: The Abridged Script | The Editing Room ↝

It looks like the writer of this Abridged Script tried to type something with his dick.

I haven’t seen this movie yet, but now I will watch it under influence.

Space Age Continued ↝

The Big Picture is showing a fantastic collection of shots of the Ares I-X rocket tests and development.

The MJ Auction ↝

I morbidly hope there will be a part 2 to this fantastic auction of Michael Jackson’s personal collection of things. Make sure you check them all out; I particularly dig the Roll’s interiors and the exploded robot face prop from Moonwalker.

Next Nature: Pepsi’s Theory Of Everything (PDF) ↝


Major r3Zpekt goes to whoever Arnell’s designers who had the guts to share their fine thinking with The Rest Of The World.

Luxology Modo 401 Teasers ↝

Brad & Co. are keeping it up. I am really curious to see how hard on render times the Blurry Refractions will be; the Shadow Catcher looks pretty good too…