Archive for August, 2007

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Finishing my roundup of this week’s Inhabitat picks, here is another interesting example for sustainable housing: using surplus shipping containers to convert them into student accommodation. Keetwonen is a student housing project in Amsterdam, made up of 1000 units that provides all the amenities a student could ever want. Each unit also has a private balcony and the housing complex includes a cafe, supermarket, office space, and even a sports area. Units are arranged in “blocks,” each block containing a service unit with centralized electricity, internet, and networking systems. Keetwonen has and integrated rooftop for efficient rainwater drainage while providing heat dispersal and insulation for the containers beneath. The complex was designed by TempoHousing and completed last year.

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Leonardo Bike Hook

Posted: August 25, 2007 in creativity
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When I recently visited Melbourne and stayed with Jeanie at her sister’s place, I noticed that two bikes were hooked up in the above fashion on a wall on the front veranda. Unfortunately, I didn’t get around taking a photo, so I’m quite delighted about finding the above one on Swissmiss‘ blog. The Leonardo Single Bike Hook certainly makes a bike a feature!

India Tower

Posted: August 24, 2007 in creativity
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According to Inhabitat, green skyscrapers seem to be all the rage these days. The India Tower is currently being built in South Mumbai to house a new Park Hyatt Hotel. According to the designers, it will be the greenest skyscraper in the entire country, boasting rainwater harvesting, green materials, and a possible US LEED Gold rating.

Strikingly similar to Tianjin’s ‘Pile of Boxes’, the 60 story, 301 meter tower is subdivided into different modules, with each module having a different function (see below). In terms of green features, the structure would integrate everything from common-sense green strategies like shaded windows, natural ventilation, and proper site orientation and zoning to green technologies such as rainwater harvesting and eco-friendly materials.

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[see Inhabitat for more information]

Bach – Toccata und Fuge in D moll

Posted: August 24, 2007 in creativity
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I quite like John Baez website, apart from mathematics . Since I do find the guy quite inspiring though, I listed already my desire to become a broad-minded renaissance-like mathematician/scientist at my next rebirth . In the meantime I just have to deal with the morsels on his site that don’t escape my comprehension and there are plenty of them – from human rights and ecology concerns to this one in his diary: a YouTube video on the architecture of Johann Sebastian Bach’s ‘Toccata und Fuge in D moll’ (Toccata and Fugue in D minor).

Thom Yorke on Spinning Plates

Posted: August 24, 2007 in creativity
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Here’s another little treasure from John Baez’ site. A couple of weeks ago, when another example of the debilitated intelligence of our species planted a flag on the arctic seabed to follow the calling of empire grandeur and shiny dollar notes, Baez reflected on this sad occasion this way:

Thom Yorke of Radiohead had this to say about their song Like Spinning Plates:

I focus on the most imminent ecological issues. You know, there are so many scenarios on the horizon at the moment that will result in mass suffering. For the most part in the West we worship a certain type of economics, which is like worshipping a false god. It’s a theory about economics which will collapse, and the sooner people realize that, the quicker they will be able to understand how we should be engaging with the world around us. To me, it’s like spinning plates: I’m not sure how long we can keep this trick going.”

[excerpt from the Spinning Plate Wiki link above: “The song was apparently created by reversing the backing track from ‘I Will,’ which was composed during the Kid A and Amnesiac sessions but did not appear as a release until their 2003 album Hail to the Thief. Thom Yorke then wrote a new, electronic song around the reversed melody, then reversed it again so the vocals were backwards. Yorke learned the backwards vocals, sang and recorded them over the backing track, and reversed the track once more. Finally, Yorke sang the song forward again for the final take, mimicking the distorted sound of his manipulated vocals in the verses.”]

Nick Foley’s Pear Light Tree

Posted: August 24, 2007 in creativity
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A design that I like aesthetically and conceptually: Nick Foley’s Pear Light Tree. A hand forged hollow steel tree is the charging station for three urethane pear-lights. Each pear contains ten ultrabright white LEDs, an autonomous charging circuit, and rare-earth magnets that allow it to be “picked” from the tree and remain fully illuminated for over an hour.

The post is pinched from Coroflot – thanks! )

UNI – build your computer on the go

Posted: August 24, 2007 in creativity
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UNI is a compartmentalised computer concept where most of the important media and computational functions have been broken down into modules. You only buy what you need. The Think module is the main computer unit. This is where most of the processing and data handling occurs. The DVD module lets you read audio/video data while the STORE module lets you save anything to it.

Thanks to the Network HomePlug technology and wireless USB, digital signals can transfer through normal household powerlines at 200mbps. Wireless USB allows the different modules to communicate with each other at 480Mbps.

This paradigm shift in computer design also benefits those who want to upgrade certain components that are normally hardwired into today’s computers such as video display outputs. Use the standard VGA module until you need to upgrade to the HDMI module. Then just swap one for the other or keep both on for some real flexibility.

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Designer: Richard Choi

[via Yanko Design]