Sunday, November 30, 2008

Thunder and Lightning in Bohemia

Czech designer Josef Gocar created this cubist chandelier for actor Otto Boleska in 1913. It represents the energy of a thunderstorm, with crystal rain falling amid brass lightning. Thunderstorms on Bohemian territory occur almost exclusively in the summer. Researchers have found that the frequency of thunderstorms in the Czech Republic has been decreasing over the last 47 years. This leaves a 48-year gap after the creation of the chandelier, during which it is unclear whether thunderstorms were increasing, decreasing, or stable in frequency. Did cubist experimentation have an effect on weather patterns? This remains to be determined by future research.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Magic Microphone

This scented leather pouch looks like a microphone, and “magically recreates the atmosphere of an old library inside a Venetian palazzo”, “conjuring the moment when one sinks into a large armchair and inhales the rich aroma of book bindings and burning candles.”

It costs $70.00 to do this, and why not? It’s a small price to pay for a microphone that allows you to speak to someone sitting in an armchair in a library in a Venetian palazzo. Here are some questions to ask them:

- What are you reading?

- Does it say anything about financial crises in your book?

- Do you sometimes feel a tinge of despair as you go about your daily affairs, and do you bury this feeling by focusing on an attractive face, say, or some silly trinket you buy?

- What is the meaning of all the suffering in the world?

- What lines of poetry do you find most consoling?

Friday, November 28, 2008

Spy Response

In what I can only interpret as a direct response to my post about spy markings, this orange shirt has been left on the aloe plant next to the Myrtle Street Review print edition distribution box.

A provocation? A warning? Some complicated code to do with colors, stripes and positioning of the shirt?

I will not say another word about spies.

Metabolic Media

Rachel Wingfield designs, researches and fabricates environmentally responsive textiles like luminous bedding, light reactive window blinds and electronic wallpaper.

Nobel Textiles is a two year-long collaboration between Central Saint Martins College of Art & Design and the Medical Research Council. Five Nobel Prize winning scientists were paired with five textile designers. Paired with researcher John E. Walker, Wingfield created Metabolic Media, a system of modular textile architecture for urban food production.

Wingfield says the “woven and modular architectural structures provide a lightweight solution for growing food plants in small spaces without soil. We’ve married this with current research on organic and dye-sensitized solar cells, which can be made at home with berries picked from your garden. The urban ecosystem, Metabolic Media, comprises of geotextile structures and solar cells designed to charge the batteries of a fueling pump system that feeds and monitors the network of plants by misting the roots with nutrient rich solution.”

Arctic Disappearances

I had a friend, Seija, who grew up in Rovaniemi, in Lapland. She in turn had a school friend whose mother would always disappear for the darkest part of the dark season. Some time in December she would take off without a word. They thought maybe she went out in the wilderness somewhere. In February, when the days got longer, she would return. Without a word.

 That was just how it was.

Pekka Jylhä: Trembling and honoring, photo: Jussi Tiainen

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Spy Markings

Spies used to make their secret markings with chalk, but rain has always been an issue. Here in the Bay Area it can rain for weeks on end in the winter, so chalk is really out of the question. Now that the Cold War is starting up again, there is increasing spy activity. Innovations in the spy industry never cease. Here, you can see modern spy markings in fluorescent spray paint. What they mean is a mystery. I suspect they have something to do with sexual geography. The shapes are quite voluptuous.

Connections are Missed

On Craigslist, people can post their missed connections, which it seems there are a lot of people missing a connection to something or someone. This person has made maps of the locations of the missed connections. I think there should be boxes in all those locations for people to leave notes about what and who they miss, and why. Then someone should collect all the notes, and put them in the basket of a hot air balloon and send them to the sky. And the blog of the person who made the maps should have a map tracking the hot air balloon. When the hot air balloon lands, a grave should be dug exactly on that spot, and all the missed connections should be buried there, and a granite marker should be put on the grave saying these are all the dead wishes of people.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Pigeon Attractor

This here is a pigeon attractor in West Oakland. One time when I biked past it, there were pigeons on top of it, under it, beside it, and on a fence nearby. In these pictures unfortunately the pigeon attractor is not on, so you can't see how well it works.

What they do is they attract all the pigeons into one place, where the pigeon handlers feed them, and give them all the messages and jewels to carry. It's more humane to use free range pigeons than to keep them in those smelly

I like that they made the pigeon attractor so fun looking, too.


The man in this picture suffers from an extremely rare medical condition called treeheadedness. Onset is typically preceded by strong winds, which blow a tree seed into the patient's throat. It can lodge behind the tonsils, and with the right bacterial conditions and generous oxygen - if the patient is very talkative or, say, an opera singer - a very rapid treeification can occur.

Having the tree then catch on fire is just one of the many challenges faced by sufferers.

This beautiful art print depicting the rare condition is by Dee Dee Cheriel, and is available for purchase here.

Faulty Pigeon Attractor

As you can see, the construction on the East Bay Rats Motorcycle Club's pigeon attractor was never completed. I haven't seen a single pigeon on it.

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