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Articles Archive for February 2010

EARTH, FIRE, WATER »

[23 Feb 2010 | One Comment | 1,269 views]
Turn up that Bloom Box!

I know most people have been living in caves for the past couple of months like brown bears hibernating over the winter, and nobody has been interested in much other than sleeping and eating the occasional beetle.  That’s fine – and completely normal – but spring is coming and before you know it, everyone will be compelled to emerge to gather salmon and frolic among the blossoming flowers.  In fact you might consider coming out of the cave a little early this year because this February something has already started to bloom:  fuel cells.
After eight …

METAL »

[20 Feb 2010 | No Comment | 3,105 views]
Metafoam

This morning when you got up and went to perform routine maintenance on your mohawk, did you reach for hair mousse?  Did you later play in the surf at the shore, feeling tiny bubbles of sea foam bursting around your ankles?  Have you ever encountered a rabid dog frothing at the mouth?  Have you used a synthetic sponge or eaten bread?  I’m asking all these questions because if you answered yes to any of them then you’re already pretty familiar with the general concept foam and it won’t be as taxing for me …

WOOD »

[17 Feb 2010 | One Comment | 5,618 views]
Bendywood

I love the name of this product:  Bendywood.  It sounds like someone Gumby would have befriended, or a trendy new subdivision on the outskirts of Las Vegas.  It’s also an accurate name because Bendywood is wood that you can bend by hand.

Image courtesy imagethief.com
Here’s how it works:  blanks of hardwood – beech, ash, oak, or maple – are steamed to soften the cell walls.  (Woodworkers are now scratching their heads and wondering how this is different from any other operation in which you’d steam wood to bend it, but take it easy …

METAL »

[15 Feb 2010 | 4 Comments | 13,958 views]
Lace Fence: Demakersvan’s take on Chain Link

Standard issue chain link fence is in many ways like the late Bea Arthur’s character Dorothy Zbornak on Golden Girls:  brutally honest, tall, and often topped with barbed wire.  Efficient and not terribly expensive, chain link isn’t the kind of fence that the poet Keats would have written home about.  But then again, would the poet Keats have been interested in any fence that wasn’t constructed entirely out of Grecian urns and coated with fluttering nightingales?  It’s hard to say. 

Photo by Joost van Brug
Dutch design firm Demakersvan has produced a line of chain link fence that incorporates the …

FIRE, WOOD »

[12 Feb 2010 | 4 Comments | 7,223 views]
Intel Hexapod Robot Spider!

Kids these days.  You never know what they’re going to come up with next, but you can bet they’ll post whatever it is on YouTube.  In my day we made videos with cameras the size of Volkswagens, walking uphill both ways in the snow talking on 12″ cellphones that took D batteries.  We certainly didn’t sit around building robots out of Intel processors and spare parts.  But this is the second decade of the new millennium, and that is why it shouldn’t surprise anyone that Matt Bunting, an electrical engineering …

FIRE, METAL »

[10 Feb 2010 | One Comment | 3,530 views]
Absolutely TEX-FAB(ulous)

Recently I saw the ad for TEX-FAB on Archinect whilst trolling for competitions* and even though (or more accurately because) I thought that it was a Texas-set remake of the BBC show Absolutely Fabulous, I clicked on the link.  To my surprise, I discovered that TEX-FAB is a conference for Texas designers using digital fabrication techniques, and as a corollary Patsy will neither be shooting JR nor drinking vodka-champagne out of a boot-shaped glass.
TEX-FAB bills itself as a “new resource for designers, academics, fabricators, and students seeking out the innovative application of digital technology to the physical environment.”  The …

EARTH, WOOD »

[8 Feb 2010 | One Comment | 6,305 views]
Fungus Among Us

I have a confession to make.  I’m not proud to admit this, but I can’t keep it to myself any longer: I do not like fungus.  There!  I said it!  I don’t like mushrooms on my pizza and fairy rings creep me out.  Those little ridges on the underside of mushroom caps remind me of dirty filters on air conditioning units; I don’t like how they’re spongy and dense, or how mushrooms taste like soil.  They live on dead things and grow in damp, dark places.  It’s not that I …

FIRE, WOOD »

[5 Feb 2010 | 3 Comments | 4,942 views]
Jali Zari – Colorful Acrylic Panels

I assume you’re aquainted with acrylic already;  perhaps the two of you met while model-making in the wee hours of the night during architecture school, or maybe you’re wearing acrylic nails.  Could be you’re rocking an acrylic visor on your motorcycle helmet, or your exotic tropical fish collection swims in an acyrlic fish tank.  You love it because it’s lightweight, transparent, has good impact strength, doesn’t break into lethal shards, doesn’t yellow, lasts for 30 years, and never forgets to call.  But sometimes a person wants more than transparency.  Sometimes a person wants …

EARTH, FIRE, WATER »

[4 Feb 2010 | No Comment | 3,096 views]
The Wicked Walls of the West

When they poured water on the Wicked Witch of the West in The Wizard of Oz, she started to shrink, screetching, “I’m melting! I’m melting!” and it seemed like a really unpleasant experience for her.  Another way to describe the conversion from evil green lady to a pile of black clothing might be to say that the Wicked Witch of the West underwent a phase change, although “I’m phase changing! I’m phase changing!” doesn’t really have the same ring to it so I respect the script writer’s choice of words.  We benefit from the phenomenon …

METAL »

[3 Feb 2010 | 2 Comments | 3,221 views]
Smooth as Silk (Honeybee Silk)

Until today I never in my wildest dreams imagined that bees could produce any kind of silk.  I thought worms were in charge of silk production and that was the end of it.  It pains me to admit this (you have no idea how it pains me) but I was wrong.  Not only are silk worms falling down on the job, as it turns out spiders aren’t any better!  Apparently it’s down to good old Apis mellifera (also known as the western honey bee) to make the silk that takes care of business.  …

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