Month: June 2011

Current state of the art of disabilities and technology

Miles O’Brien of the PBS NewsHour did an outstanding job of putting together one of the best overviews I’ve seen yet of how technology is being used to help people with various kinds of disabilities. We saw this on air last night and it blew my mind and I’ve been involved in this area for many years. Very well produced and a spectacular collection of ideas in various stages of development.

Here’s the overview at the NewHour site: Minds, Machines Merge to Offer New Hope for Overcoming Impairments.

Simon Rodia and Watts Towers

Watts Towers is an incredible group of structures in the Watts district of Los Angeles, California built by brick and tile layer, Simon Rodia over a period of 33 years from 1921 to 1954.

I visited the Towers in the mid 1960′s with my parents but haven’t been back since. I think a trip there is called for on one of my next trips to LA.

I’m a gonna do something.

- Simon Rodia

I think Simon really did something.

Mountain biking in the Alps

Pass’portes du Soleil 2011

Over the past weekend I’ve been riding a mountain bike event called the Pass’Portes du Soleil. Ten connected ski resorts and over fourteen lifts throughout the Swiss and French Alps that you traverse by tearing up the descents and sitting easy on the chairlifts. How hard can it be? Over 6000m of descending through 100km of singletrack and only a thousand meters of turning the pedals over. Piece of cake.

Spectacular mountain scenery and mountain bike photography by Photography by Wade Wallace and Pat Fitzpatrick. Doesn’t look like a piece of cake to me. Wow.

[via Jon Moss]

Tom Sachs

Tom Sachs, A Selby Film from the selby on Vimeo.

The Selby has done a nice bio piece on the American sculptor Tom Sachs. Worth watching full screen.

Tom Sachs (official web site)
Tom Sachs (wikipedia)

Ten Bullets is currently running on the front page of the Tom Sachs site. It’s a parody (I hope) on the studio code of conduct for all of the artists working in his studio. It’s quite good and another look into how his studio runs.

I love the term “Knoll” and the phrase “always be knolling” as a studio mantra.



Click the image above to start a slide show of the various image in this set. The slide show application has various tools including a button at bottom right to zoom to full screen. Let go of your mouse or trackpad and the slideshow will run automatically to the end or until you stop it.

One of my flickr contacts Joel Suganth who lives in Chennai, India has done a series on the town of Kasi. The images are multiple exposures layered or merged into one. EXIF on the images shows that they were scanned so it seems like these are multiple exposures done in camera which makes the technical side of this even more impressive. However he’s done them, the images are spectacular, they channel a sense of place and mood.

Images like these make me want to go places and take more pictures.

Callie Shell’s images of Obama’s first 100 days

The First 100 Days Behind the Lens: Barack Obama in Pictures

TIME contract photographer Callie Shell had extraordinary access to the Obama White House. In this video documentary, she describes how she captured her behind-the-scenes images of the first 100 days of Obama’s presidency.

Callie Shell narrates this excellent video slide show. Most of us have seen the wonderful work of Pete Souza, the official White House Photographer but it’s nice to see another point of view and hear her narration.

The slide show doesn’t scale all that well but its worth zooming out anyway to see more detail in the pictures. TIME uses Flash so be aware if you’re looking at this on an iPad.

What makes the Stradivarius violin so special?

What makes the Stradivarius violin so special?

Ms Todes agrees that Stradivari’s instruments were “exquisitely crafted, the pinnacle of sound engineering”.

She says the quality of a Stradivarius is “down to someone who was always trying to do better, he was always getting feedback from players, there was constant self-criticism”.

However, Dr Whiteley points out that the shape of the soundbox is not as important as the talent of the violinist.

“A great violinist like Yehudi Menuhin could make a great sound from an old box and a piece of wire.”