Category Archives: Design

A surprisingly terrific podcast: “The Great Bitter Lake Association”

Two things I should know by now:

  • Some 99% Invisible podcast is going to seem worthy but so arcane that I just won’t really make time to listen to it.
  • If eventually I do, I’ll be really rewarded for it.

The recent episode about The Great Bitter Lake Association—covering the camaraderie that emerged among sailors in the “Yellow Fleet” that became trapped by the Six-Day War & then stuck in the Suez for years—is totally fascinating. I hope you listen & enjoy. If nothing else, enjoy the homemade postage they created amongst themselves (which eventually became recognized by Egypt & thus usable for sending mail), the discovery of which sets the whole recounting in motion.

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Action Movie Dad vs. Boston Dynamics: Post-apocalyptic fun 💀

Scrappy VFX gangsta Daniel Hashimoto riffed on the latest Boston Dynamics robot launch vid to fun effect:

Amazingly, he gave himself just six hours to do the job, mixing in the new After Effects Content-Aware Fill & a volumetric capture of my teammate Manuel:

[YouTube]

Sky flash: Kitty Hawk’s electric VTOL aircraft

“When—not if—I die in a fiery crash on Highway 101,” I’ve long told people, “you’ll remember that I called it that I’d be rubbernecking at some awesome aircraft buzzing overhead.” I’ve always figured it’d be a Blue Angel or An-124 or something, but now I can imagine it being Uncle Larry (who helps fund electric-plane startup Kitty Hawk), softly zipping by in one of these chariots of future:

Sign me up for the last bit in particular:

Project Heaviside is Kitty Hawk’s latest high-performance electric VTOL vehicle. It is designed to be fast, small and exceedingly quiet, taking advantage of new possibilities to free people from traffic.

The Heaviside vehicle is roughly 100 times quieter than a regular helicopter. Once in the air, the vehicle blends into the background noise of a city or suburb, barely discernible to the human ear. Heaviside can travel from San Jose to San Francisco in 15 minutes and uses less than half the energy of a car.

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[YouTube]

The robots will style you now

Facebook Research recently unveiled Fashion++, “An AI system that proposes easy changes to a person’s outfit to make it more fashionable.”

Not to be outdone, my extended team is rolling out a Google Lens feature called “style ideas”:

If you see a leopard print skirt you like on social media, take a screenshot and use Lens in Google Photos to see how other people have styled similar looks. See a winter coat that catches your eye in a store, but need some inspiration on how to rock it? Just open Lens and point your camera.

This remains, as always, “the strangest life I’ve ever known…” ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

640 motorized LED spheres dance with a human

Pretty much like it says on the tin. Enjoy!

The 9-minute performance features 640 motorized LED spheres, an ancient Chinese weaving machine and a modern dancer. German motor winch producer KINETIC LIGHTS provided the vertical hoist systems for the LED spheres and control software. Russian RADUGADESIGN animated a complementing video backdrop and CPG Concepts from Hong Kong provided the dance choreography for British dancer Rose Alice.

[Vimeo] [Via]