The most important car show of the year kicked off in Detroit this week, and with it comes some pretty amazing new rides. Take the 2017 Ford GT, a supercar with superb lines. The teardrop shape and active aerodynamics make it supremely sexy and slippery, and the all carbon body combined with a 600+ horsepower engine means this thing is fast. Via DesignBoom:
Offices are increasingly realizing that sitting at a desk all day isn’t healthy. Indeed, it’s downright bad for you. Standing desks are one way to combat it. But they’re pretty traditional. To bust the field wide open, Dutch studio RAAAF has taken on a concept project called “The End of Sitting”. They’ve created a series of glacier and boulder-like surfaces, and no formal chairs or tables. Pretty off-the-wall, and pretty cool. Via Wired:
“What if we had an environment without chairs and tables, and we don’t think in these archetypes, but in terms of activities?”
Albertus Seba was a Dutch pharmacist, zoologist and collector. Born in 1665, Seba grew up near the ocean, and at a young age was captivated by the diversity of life living in the sea.
Seba moved to Amsterdam as an apprentice and opened around 1700 a pharmacy near the harbour. Seba asked sailors and ship surgeons to bring exotic plants and animal products he could use for preparing drugs. Seba also started to collect snakes, birds, insects, shells and lizards in his house. From 1711 he delivered drugs to the Russian court in Saint Petersburg and sometimes accepted fresh ginger as payment. Seba promoted his collection with the head-physician to the tsar, Robert Arskine, and early 1716 Peter the Great bought the complete collection. Seven months later seventeen trunks arrived in Russia. With Seba as an intermediate, Frederik Ruysch, a famous botanist, again sold his collection to the tsar. A special building was designed, and from 1728 till 1830 both collections were exposed in the Kunstkammer. With the acquisition of the two collections, the Russian Academy of Sciences had two modern, very well-documented collections at its disposal.
Albertus sometimes accepted fresh ginger as payment. Mmm…
Seba commissioned high quality, painstaking illustrations of nearly his entire collection, which were turned into engravings for publishing. Thesaurus was his biggest project, and one he didn’t live to see the completion of. His commissioned works hold a high level of esteem for nature collectors and artists alike, showing a great attention to detail and a certain whimsy and layout which remains relevant to this day.
Seba’s Thesaurus was a beautiful publication, in a large part because the boundary between art and science was still pretty fuzzy. Animals posed artfully, and shells were arranged in decorative patterns. Some of the work was fanciful or even folly, such as the many electric-blue snakes and the seven-headed hydra, yet much of it exhibited an almost unprecedented attention to detail and accuracy.
This inspiring short film by Erik Wernquist paints a beautifully exuberant picture of our solar system, showing adventurers exploring the cliffs of Europa, skydiving off of Mars’ peaks, and so much more. The narration is a speech by Carl Sagan, and it wraps the whole piece up in a beautifully nostalgic yet futuristic vibe. Great work.
Comet 67P has been flying solo through space for millennia, and didn’t know it was in for a visitor. Yet a visitor touched down this week, for the first time in human history. The European Space Station launched Philae to the surface of the comet, which is whizzing at a brisk 84,000 miles per hour. It was even able to take a number of photos of the comet surface. Pretty incredible. Via NYTimes:
It’s hard to visualize the size of 67P when its in the vastness of space. Here’s a handy mockup that someone in the UK did, it shows how big the comet would appear if it landed in Cork.
And here’s a brand new image from the surface of the comet itself.
The science behind climate change couldn’t be clearer. It’s mostly man-made, and change is accelerating. The problem with most of today’s climate-related activism is that it plays softball. It still speaks to people like it’s trying to convince them, woo them, gently show them why the system is sick. Finally, a major organization, Conservation International, has ‘grown a pair’ and started talking to people the way they deserve: with unflinching poise and undeniable blame. The series, titled “Nature is Speaking“, uses celebrity voices playing the roles of The Ocean, The Soil, Mother Nature, etc. The scripts are paired with beautiful video of pristine nature, the way it exists without humans messing things up. The punch line for the short videos is the real narrative, however. “Nature doesn’t need humans. Humans need Nature.” It’s a quote that I will be extolling for years to come, and I’m thrilled to have a great national organization finally market to people the way they need to. Wake up, humans. We need nature.
Something magical happens when you carefully mix technology and art. Cirque du Soleil has a ‘lab’ where they create new theatre and art projects, and one of those latest projects is called Sparked. Using ten quadcopter drones and choreographing them to an actor’s movement, they’ve created theater out of these funny flying bots. No CG at all, these are actual flying robots. By far the most elegant use of drones to date, the clever use of lampshades hides the bare technology in a veil of pedestrian familiarity. Via LaughingSquid and Cirque Du Soleil.
The Y40, also known as the Deep Joy, in Italy, makes all other pool’s deep ends seem like a joke. At a whopping 137 feet deep, it has a phenomenally deep ‘silo’ for divers and underwater photo shoots. It also boasts a glass viewing tunnel and plenty of room for the casual swimmer as well.
As someone who has attended Burning Man for years, you don’t need to tell me how profoundly amazing it is. Describing it to skeptical friends and colleagues has become a rite of passage for new attendees. But often a picture tells a thousand words, and this enormous gigapixel by Michael Holden tells a whole book. Scroll around, and see a full 360°view of the playa at sunrise. Check it out here.