Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Elevated Minimalist House

Welsh architectural practice Hyde + Hyde Architects transformed an unused quarry into a residential area where they built a unique home for a photographer on the edge of Brecon National Park in Pontypridd, Wales. To avoid touching the walls of the quarry, Hyde + Hyde came up with the innovative solution of elevating the building off the ground, creating a distinctive house that intrudes on the surrounding landscape as little as possible.
The rectangular abode features sleek, minimalist design on both the exterior and interior, providing an abstract backdrop that allows the owner to shoot or display his photographic works as needed. Large windows open up the home to natural light and the quiet beauty of the natural surroundings around the house. According to the architects, the elegant building is designed to "collect light and focus on distant views like a camera Obscura," providing even more inspiration for the resident photographer.

Portraits of Kids Around the World and Their Toys

Maudy, 3 - Kalulushi, Zambia
Almost exactly a year ago, we showed you an eye-opening series that featured kids around the world with their most prized possession, their toys. Photographer Gabriele Galimberti has now traveled three years and visited dozens of countries to capture young kids in their homes and neighborhoods surrounded by what they play with each and every day. The new book, called Toy Stories, contains 54 fascinating portraits that will make you think more than just about your own childhood but about the different set of circumstances each child is surrounded with as he or she grows up.
Ben Machell, feature writer for The Times of London, wrote the introduction to the book. He describes it this way, "These toys, Galimberti began to realize, said as much about the mothers and fathers as they did about the children themselves. 'I learned more about being a parent than I did about being a child from this whole process,' he says. Hopes and ambitions are passed down through the toys parents choose for their children. Children from families boasting musicians invariably receive toy instruments..."
He goes on, "However, this dynamic only applies to countries where parents could pick and choose which toys their children could have. In areas of poverty, the difference was striking. 'I ended up in a small village in northern Zambia where there was nothing. No electricity, no water, and, of course, no toy shops. But the children had found a box of sunglasses-I think it fell off a truck-and the glasses became their favorite toys. Actually, their only toys. They would play 'market,' buying and selling the glasses to each other, sharing everything between them.'"

Mikkel, 3 - Bergen, Norway

Julius, 3 - Lausanne, Switzerland

Tyra, 3 - Stockholm, Sweden

Niko, 5 - Homer, Alaska

Enea, 3 - Boulder, Colorado

Naya, 3 - Puerto Viejo de Talamanca, Costa Rica

Lauren, 6 - Muskoka, Canada.

Shotaro, 5 - Tokyo, Japan

Taha, 4 - Beirut, Lebanon

Pavel, 5 - Kiev, Ukraine

Chiwa, 4 - Mchinji, Malawai

Stylish Vintage Blueprints
If you’re intrigued by how things are made, then Oliver Gal Artist Co.’s recreated vintage blueprints are a treat. The collective of artists scoured patents of old products and designed them into stylish and educational prints meant to hang on your wall. Some of the inventions include things as simple as a beer bottle, while others are more complicated, like the Harley Davidson motorcycle.
Each blueprint includes a technical drawing that details the intricacies of the object. There’s a lot of history behind each image, and it’s fascinating to look at something like the Wright Brothers Flying Machine and understand how they intended for it to work. Diagrams like these helped shape the word as we know it.
In addition to the deconstructed sketches, the prints provide information on the inventor, the date the patent was filed, and sometimes includes a short description. When you think about all of the complex gadgets we have now, the aged blueprints remind us that the spirit of innovation was alive a long time ago.

Wooden Skate Decks Designed by Laser Engraving

Customized skate decks are nothing new, but you've probably never seen them look like this before. Brooklyn-based design studio Magnetic Kitchen used their talents and laser cutter to permanently transfer artwork onto premium maple wood boards. The process creates a unique embossed effect by burning off a small layer of its surface. Their beautiful designs range from small, intricate patterns to large, crashing waves, and are enhanced by the contrasting colors of the wood grain. You can't help but want to run your fingers over the grooves cut into the boards.
If you aren't a skateboarder, or are afraid to rough up this gorgeous work, that’s okay. Magnetic Kitchen sells all of their boards without wheels, trucks, or grip tape. Instead, you can treat it like an art object and brighten up your home.
This project was originally launched through the popular crowdfunding site Kickstarter. At the time of writing, the campaign has a few days left and raised over its $10,000 goal. The money earned will help Magnetic Kitchen go into larger-scale production on these boards, so more people will have the chance to own these natural beauties.

Google's "Android Wear" Changes The Face of Wrist Watches

This past Tuesday, Google announced its newest endeavor that will change the way we interact with technology. The company launched Android Wear, a user interface that’s designed for a wrist watch. Although these types of devices are nothing new, none of them significantly alter the way we communicate, and as of now are just smaller phones strapped around our wrists.
Android Wear’s platform is a game changer because it reacts to your surroundings, and uses its knowledge about you to anticipate what you’ll need. Theoretically, if you're standing in front of a coffee shop, you won't have to find a Yelp a review of it on the one-inch screen. The watch will sense where you are and have the review waiting for you.
This passive interface is the key to Android Wear’s innovation, but isn't a new development for the company. Last year, Google launched Google Now on its phones, which uses “cards” to predict and dispense useful information. Things like travel delays, entertainment you searched for, and the current weather are all at the tip of your fingers without having to ask for it.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Differences Between Human and Animal Vision


Nature is incredibly mystifying. The differences in human and animal capabilities vary in many ways, particularly, how we see the world. Editor of Muse, Inkfish blogger, and cephalopod enthusiast Elizabeth Preston recently developed this article about how humans see the world compared to different kinds of creatures.
The side-by-side comparison is clear evidence of how natural differences are key to survival. On the left is a simulation of what an animal sees, and set directly next to that on the right is how a human would see the very same scene. A rattlesnake can see a glowing mouse—ie: dinner—in the middle of a pitch black night while the tiny animals almost escape a human's sight. And birds are drawn in to brightly glowing flower petals while humans see a much more dulled down version of the same thing.
The original article explains, "Animals process light differently—some creatures have only two types of photoreceptors, which renders them partially colorblind, some have four, which enables them to see ultraviolet light, and others can detect polarized light, meaning light waves that are oscillating in the same plane."




Senior Golden Retriever Snuggling with Baby Chicks

Remember Champ, the happiest dog in the world? His owner, 21-year-old Candice Sedighan, just shared with us a new series of photos she's taken of the adorable dog and his newfound friends. Recently, Candice ran into a man who was holding chicks in a box. "When I asked about them, he told me he had gotten them at a hatchery and after only one day he couldn't keep them anymore," she said. "He asked me if I think any factories would want them, but I offered to take them instead so I could find them a safer home. I bought all the necessary supplies to keep them comfortable and healthy for a few days, and will be donating them to a local college's teaching farm."
So how did Champ, the 11-year-old senior dog, take to the young baby chicks? "Initially I was unsure about how Champ would react to them," Candice says. "I carefully introduced him to just one chick in my hand to see how he would react while I was petting it. He didn't mind the chick at all and just curiously and gently sniffed it. I think one of the biggest reasons he didn't want to hurt the chick was the way I introduced it to him. He is also much more obedient after years of training and getting used to me photographing him. In 2012, I photographed him with live butterflies on his nose and I'm sure that photoshoot helped prepare him as well.
"Senior dogs are also just undeniably sweet and full of wisdom. One of my biggest goals, through my photos, is to show others that senior dogs can be cute, too! It seems that puppy photos and videos are quite popular these days, and, of course, puppies are adopted much more quickly in shelters and rescues. I hope these photos help people have a change of heart and give seniors a chance!"