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February 15, 2013

Readymade Projects — Stephen Burks

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The Manhattan-based designer (above) "takes a hybrid approach to design, fusing cultural influences from around the world."

"His poufs are made of hand-cut lengths of Manila rope, dipped in black rubber and bound with 'belts' of trimmings from the Italian fabric company Dedar."

Apply within.

[via the New York Times]

February 15, 2013 at 08:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Friday afternoon at the movies: "My Best Friend's Birthday" — Quentin Tarantino's 1987 debut film

Haven't you done enough for one week?

Call it a day and start the weekend early.

You can watch the rest tonight in your jammies, snug and cozy at home.

From Open Culture:

Fewer than 40 minutes survive of "My Best Friend's Birthday," the first film directed by Quentin Tarantino. But its brief screen time runs dense with references to Elvis Presley, the Partridge Family, "A Countess from Hong Kong," Rod Stewart, "Deputy Dawg," and "That Darn Cat." In between the rapid-fire gab sessions, we also witness a slapstick kung-fu battle and even hear a bit of repurposed early-seventies pop music. Though a fire claimed the second half of what was presumably the picture's only print, the first half... leaves no doubt as to the identity of its auteur. In some sense, it bears an even deeper imprint of Tarantino's personality than his subsequent films, since he stars in it as well. To behold the early-twentysomething Tarantino portraying the good-hearted and aggressively enthusiastic but jittery and distractible rockabilly DJ Clarence Poole is to behold the Quentin Tarantino public persona in an embryonic form, a distilled form — or both.

The plot of "My Best Friend's Birthday," such as it remains, finds Clarence looking to give a birthday present to his pal Mickey, who's been freshly — and harshly — re-rejected by an ex-girlfriend. None of Clarence's ideas — not the cake, not the call girl — work out quite as intended, though now I suppose we'll never know how wrong things really went, or if they managed to right themselves in the end. Yet the truncated version of the film feels somehow more fascinating — more satisfying, even — than any completion I can imagine. Both the movie's hopelessly unresolved story and its dreamy visual quality, courtesy of a beaten-up 16-millimeter print transferred onto what looks like a VHS tape, turn it into the most experimental art Tarantino has ever created. It casts adrift even the director's hardiest fans in a stark southern California reality: long-running arguments about meaningless culture, ceaseless elevation of the disposable, and a vague, looming, but nevertheless constant sense of threat. And amid all this, it can still serve up a line like, "What made you interested in tackling prostitution as a career goal?"

February 15, 2013 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Linx — "Solve the problem with what's in the room"

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Edwin H. Land's exhortation mixes nicely with these plastic hubs that connect grocery store drinking straws.

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Wrote Kevin Kelly in Cool Tools,

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"This inexpensive construction kit uses simple plastic hubs to connect grocery store drinking straws. You can assemble quite large — and featherweight — structures in crystalline and geodesic designs. The 125 included hubs are enough for several big projects and are reusable."

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"While you can use 'bendable' drinking straws I don't recommend them because they weaken the structures but if that's all you can find at the store they'll do."

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$18 (straws not included).

February 15, 2013 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Print your boat, then sail away

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Long November 3, 2012 story from The Economist short: "Every summer, Seattle holds a raft race in Green Lake, a park that is the eponymous home of the water the rafts must cross. Entries for the Milk Carton Derby have to be made from old plastic milk bottles. The result is a wonderfully Heath-Robinson collection of improvised craft. But this year one stood out: the entry from the University of Washington's engineering department actually looked like a boat. The students who built it, Matthew Rogge, Bethany Weeks and Brandon Bowman, had shredded and melted their bottles, and then used a 3-D printer to print themselves a plastic vessel."

Below, more excerpts from the piece.

No doubt the Milk-Carton-Derby rules will be tightened next year — though in the end, the team came only second. But they did come first in a competition that mattered more. On October 19th they won $100,000 in the 3-D X 4-D Challenge, organized by a charity called techfortrade.

3-D printing is all the rage at the moment. Several varieties of the technique exist, using a wide range of materials as the "ink." One of the most popular methods, though — and the one used by the team — works by extruding a filament of molten plastic. In the case of the team's printer, this plastic was high-density polyethylene from milk bottles. The print head makes repeated passes over the thing being printed, leaving a plastic trail as it does so. It thus builds up a three-dimensional structure.

3-D printing is now taken seriously by manufacturers as an alternative to cutting, bending, pressing, and molding things. It is also a popular hobby among those of a geeky disposition. What it has not been used for so far is to help people in poor countries improve their everyday lives.

Mr. Rogge, Ms. Weeks, and Mr. Bowman intend to employ their prize money to do precisely that. They plan to form a firm that will, in partnership with a charity called Water for Humans, custom-build composting toilets and rainwater collectors. The partnership will look for suitable local entrepreneurs in poor countries and will train them how to build, use and maintain the printers.

The operation will thus run on a commercial basis. But the software that controls the printers will be open-source and available to all, as will many of the designs for things the printers can make. That way, the technology can spread. A trial will begin soon in Oaxaca, Mexico.

The crucial point about the team's printer is that it combines size and cheapness. Printers used by hobbyists are not expensive, but they are small. Many would find it hard to make anything larger than a coffee cup. Those used by engineering companies cost serious money — and even they might balk at printing an object the size of the Milk Carton Derby boat.

The team's printer is built around a second-hand computer-controlled plasma cutter (a device used for carving up sheets of metal). This directs the movement of an extruder that melts flakes of plastic into a thin stream which can be squirted out as required. It is able to create things with dimensions of up to 2.5 meters by 1.2 meters by 1 meter. Appropriately, many of its parts were themselves manufactured on a desktop 3-D printer.

The ink is cheap, too. High-density polyethylene is as common as muck — literally, for a lot of it ends up on refuse tips. Chop it up, though, and it is grist to the mill. Mr, Rogge estimates that if he and his colleagues had printed their boat from commercial plastic filament it would have cost them $800. Instead, 250 clean, empty milk bottles set them back just $3.20.

One of the judges at the 3-D X 4-D Challenge noted that many small vessels in West Africa are made from trees, such as teak, that are becoming scarce. Making them from waste plastic instead would be an environmental twofer: rare species would be conserved and less rubbish thrown away.

Wait a sec... what's that music I'm hearing?

February 15, 2013 at 08:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

4:01 a.m. Bottle Opener Series ('I'd rather have a bottle in front of me than a frontal lobotomy") — Episode 27: S-Biner GetLit

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This puppy's unlighted cousin appeared here last month, #5 in the series.

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From the website:

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The S-Biner GetLit is two handy devices in one.

Its bottle-opener top features a high quality stainless steel carabiner clip with a secure gate closure, so you can easily attach it to a backpack strap, key ring, cooler/tackle box/ski bag handle, zipper pull, belt loop — anything with a loop or D-ring.

Simple to unhook and reattach, it's the perfect go-anywhere bottle opener, and with its built-in bright white LED, it's a perfect anytime area light too.

One quick press of the thumb on the push-button switch activates the bright glowing light (press twice for flash mode), enabling you to see which beverage you're opening and otherwise find your way around when it's dark outside.

Details and Features:

• Battery run time: Glow mode — 20 hours; Flash mode — 25 hours

• Easily replaceable 2 x 2016 3V lithium battery included

• Weather-resistant construction

• 3.2" x 1.8" x 0.85"

• 1.6 oz.

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$8.29.

February 15, 2013 at 04:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

#73 — Hiroyuki Hamada

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One of my favorite artists, the East Hampton, New York-based Hamada emailed me a photo of this piece last night, adding "It's very close to being done. I'm hoping to show it this fall along with other new ones." 

I'd like to attend that opening.

February 15, 2013 at 12:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

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