October 26, 2021

What is it?

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Answer here this time tomorrow.

Hint: not Georges Seurat's experiment with Color Field painting.

October 26, 2021 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Train to Mcchu Picchu — with a balcony

October 26, 2021 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Original Kodak Camera — The End of Privacy?

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Made by George Eastman, it was released in 1888.

Its successors caused as much controversy as 2013's Google Glass.

October 26, 2021 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Bodum Nutcracker

Zzz

This throwback nutcracker from the 1980s is the best one I've got — and I've got plenty of them, I had a nutcracker jones some decades back — for getting the nut out of old maid pistachios in the shell.

You can destroy not only your fingernails but also your teeth trying to get the ones that have barely been split to open up.

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From websites:

This wooden nutcracker by Bodum is made from beechwood and features a stainless steel screw that gently cracks the shell open as the handle is twisted.

The cup then contains all of the broken pieces of shell along with the nut and can be emptied into the bin.

Suitable for use with all whole nuts except macadamia.

Designed by Richard Nissen.

Made in Denmark.

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$23.99

October 26, 2021 at 08:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

October 25, 2021

The dark side of the moon from 1 million miles away

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Photograph by NASA.

October 25, 2021 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

'Boat' — Zhu Jinshi

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From Colossal:

More than 12,000 sheets of delicate Xuan paper form the ruffled exterior of Zhu Jinshi's suspended "Boat" sculpture.

The renowned artist, currently living and working in his hometown of Beijing, is widely regarded for pioneering Chinese abstract art, and this monumental installation from 2015 is a reflection of his conceptual, meditative practice.

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18 meters long and seven meters wide, "Boat" is comprised of wrinkled paper layers draped around bamboo frames.

Countless thin cotton threads hold the individual components in place and intersect the curved, tunnel-like form with straight lines that extend vertically to the ceiling.

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Bisected with a central space for viewers to pass through, the metaphorical work considers the passage of time and space.

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The artist is exhibiting at West Bund Art and Design 2021 in November and is opening a solo show in Shanghai at the end of the year.

Until then, explore an archive of his works at Pearl Lam Galleries and on Artsy.

October 25, 2021 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Fun of Carrying

Leather artisan Tsuchiya Kaban demonstrates the best way to make a customized tool belt for carrying perfect flat stones for skipping on calm water.

October 25, 2021 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Hala Fruit

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The flavor of fresh hala juice has been likened to "a mixture of sugar cane and mango."

"To eat a fresh hala fruit, use the claw of a hammer to remove a couple of the keys. The rest should pop out easily. Chew on the center of each key to break down the fibers, then suck out the sweet nectar inside."

More here.

October 25, 2021 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (1)

Reversible Slippers

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In Japan they're called house shoes.

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Features and Details:

• Unisex

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• Fully reversible

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• Machine washable

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• Made in Japan

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$59.

October 25, 2021 at 08:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

October 24, 2021

How finger counting gives away your nationality

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From the BBC:

Many people around the world learn to count on their fingers, but we don't all do it in the same way. Could there be a better method?

How would you count to 10 on your fingers? Do you start with the thumb or the index finger? Left hand or right? Dactylonomy (counting on your hands) seems like such a simple and natural thing to do that you might assume it's nearly the same everywhere.

After all, it's no coincidence that we have 10 digits on our hands and the most common number systems have 10 digits. This way of counting (called a base 10 system) probably arose because we have 10 fingers. If we had evolved with 8 or 12 fingers, our number system might be quite different. And the word "digit" in the sense of numerals comes from the Latin digitus, meaning finger or toe — because of the way we use them to count.

But it turns out that people around the world have vastly different techniques for keeping track of numbers on their hands.

For example, if you're from the UK or many parts of Europe, you probably start counting with the thumb, and finish with the pinky. While in the US, they start counting with the index finger, ending with the thumb. In parts of the Middle East like Iran, they begin with the pinky, whereas in Japan they start with the fingers extended in an open palm, drawing them in to make a closed fist.

However, this cultural diversity in finger counting hasn't always been appreciated. "What struck me was that most researchers treated it as if there was just one way of counting with your fingers," says Andrea Bender, a professor of cognition, culture, and language at the University of Bergen, Norway.

"In the past, researchers have believed that finger counting, and especially the way that we do it in the West, is essential for children when they start to learn counting, and when they try to grasp what numbers actually are. One reason for casting doubt on that is that there is so much cultural diversity in how fingers or body parts are used for counting."

In India, for example, they use the lines between the segments of the fingers to count. This means each digit can represent four numbers and the whole hand can represent 20. While in parts of Eastern Africa like Tanzania, among speakers of some Bantu languages, they use both hands in a symmetric way as much as possible. The number six, for example, is shown with the index, middle and ring finger of both hands. There's also the indigenous Northern Pame people of Mexico, who count on their knuckles, and the (now extinct) Yuki language in California, which used the spaces in between the fingers.

You can see examples of these ways of finger counting, and a way of counting to 1,000 on two hands, in this BBC Reel video.

Some cultures don't use quantities of fingers to represent numbers at all — they use symbols. In China, they count from one to five in the same way as the US, but six to 10 are represented symbolically. Six is shown by extending the thumb and pinky, while 10 is either a closed fist or crossing the index and middle fingers. And the ancient Romans also used a clever (but difficult to master) symbolic system that allowed them to count into the thousands.

Bender says that finger counting can be richly varied and researchers may have barely scratched the surface of the multitudes of ways different cultures do it. Her group is about to start on a much bigger survey to try to document finger counting around the world in much more detail.

"We know a little bit about how much diversity is possible, but we have no idea yet of how big the differences actually can be," she says.

Cognitive scientists like Bender are beginning to show that there is still much to discover about the relationship between gesture and language learning. For example, gestures can change how we hear words. But we don't know whether the gesture informs the choice of word or vice versa.

"What I think is extremely exciting is what cognitive implications do these differences have? How do children who grow up with different representations for numbers learn counting?"

At some point, probably hundreds of thousands of years ago, our ancestors started to count and developed different counting systems, concludes Bender.

Not only can finger counting reveal where in the world you come from, it may also shed light on how we learned to understand the concept of number — as children and even as a species. Even though counting on your hands feels as easy as one-two-three, in reality it's not so simple.

October 24, 2021 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)

Liegender Stier (Reclining Bull) (detail) — Franz Marc

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Tempera on paper; 1913; Museum Folkwang (Folklore Museum); Essen, Germany.

From Wikipedia:

Franz Moritz Wilhelm Marc (February 8, 1880 – March 4, 1916) was a German painter and printmaker, one of the key figures of German Expressionism.

He was a founding member of Der Blaue Reiter (The Blue Rider), a journal whose name later became synonymous with the circle of artists collaborating in it.

His mature works mostly depict animals, and are known for bright coloration.

He was drafted to serve in the German Army at the beginning of World War I, and was killed in action two years later at the Battle of Verdun.

More on the artist here.

October 24, 2021 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)

'... the small significance which, to my mind, so-called great men have in historical events' — Tolstoy

Zz

The passages below are from Tolstoy's "A Few Words Apropos of the book 'War and Peace," his appendix to his novel, published in the magazine Russian Archive in 1868, before the final parts of the book had appeared in print.

I say all this in order to show the inevitability of falsehood in the military descriptions which serve as material for military historians, and therefore to show the inevitability of frequent disagreements between artists and historians in understanding historical events.

But, besides the inevitability of untruths in their setting forth of historical events, I encountered in the historians of that epoch that interested me (probably as a result of grouping events, expressing them briefly, and conforming to the tragic tone of the events) a particular inclination to high-flown speech, in which falsehood and distortion often touch not only the events, but also the understanding of the meaning of the events.

And so the tasks of the artist and the historian are completely different....

... the most important consideration concerns the small significance which, to my mind, so-called great men have in historical events.

... I arrived at the obviousness of the fact that the causes of historical events that take place are inaccessible to our intelligence.

A countless number of retrospective conjectures can be made and are being made about the causes of this senseless event; but the enormous number of these explanations and their convergence on one goal only proves that there is a countless multitude of these causes and that none of them can be called the cause.

... man's consciousness of freedom in the committing of acts of a certain sort is mistaken.

And so there are two sorts of acts. One depends, the other does not depend on my will.

... the mistake that produce that produces a contradiction comes only from the fact that I wrongly transfer the consciousness of freedom, which legitimately accompanies any act committed with my I, with the highest abstraction of my existence, to my acts committed jointly with other people and depending on the coinciding of other wills with my own.

To determine the boundaries of the domains of freedom and independence is very difficult, and the determining of those boundaries is the essential and sole task of psychology; but, observing the conditions of the manifestation of our greatest freedom and greatest dependence, it is impossible not to see that the more abstract our activity is and therefore the less connected with the activity of others, the more free it is, and, on the contrary, the more our activity is connected with other people, the more unfree it is.

The most strong, indissoluble, burdensome, and constant connection with other people is the so-called power over other people, which in its true meaning is only the greatest dependence on them.

Tolstoy made his boj debut last month and this encore won't be the last you'll see of his work.

October 24, 2021 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Find the 12 differences

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Answers here.

October 24, 2021 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (1)

Noguchi Prismatic Table

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From the website:

The small Prismatic Table of 1957 was the last piece of furniture that Isamu Noguchi designed.
 
This creation coincides with his sculptures of bent and folded aluminum from the late 1950s.
 
The faceted aluminum piece was designed for Alcoa as part of their advertising "Forecast program" to explore new uses for aluminum.
 
Noguchi designed two versions.
 
This one was presented in advertisements of the time as modular and multicolored.
 
This is the first time it has ever been put into production.
 
Manufactured by Vitra Design Museum.
 
Features and Details:
 
White or Black coated sheet aluminum
 
• 15" x 18" x 18"

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$855.

October 24, 2021 at 08:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

October 23, 2021

Day of the Dead Stamps

Zzzz

From Colossal:

The United States Postal Service has issued a set of colorful postage stamps that celebrate Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead), an annual holiday celebrated in Mexico and beyond on the first two days of November.

The vibrant stamps depict a family of four calaveras (sugar skulls) designed by Minneapolis-based Chicano artist and designer Luis Fitch, who has been obsessed with postage stamps since a young age.

chance encounter near a train exit by the National Mexican Art Museum in Chicago led to the creation of the stamps:

Every year, the day before his birthday, [Fitch] writes a list of things he wants to achieve, asking the universe. In October 2018, he remembered his old dream, designing a stamp, and made it number one, the slot for his most difficult and unrealistic goal.

The next day, the director of the stamp design program called.

He had seen the single poster Fitch wheat-pasted — on a whim, while waiting for his son — near the train exit for the National Mexican Art Museum in Chicago. And then he had gone to the museum, where twelve of Fitch’s posters were included in an exhibition on the Day of the Dead. This was just the style he was looking for, he said.

Fitch's stamp designs incorporate multiple visual motifs traditionally used during the holiday, including lit candles meant to guide deceased loved ones on their annual return journey, and cempazuchitles (marigolds), the most popular Día de los Muertos flower.

Each of the four stamps depicts a different family member in the form of a sugar skull: a father with a hat and mustache, a child donning a hair bow, a curly-haired mother, and another child.

58 cents at post offices everywhere.

 

October 23, 2021 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

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