December 3, 2021

'me + you'

Screen Shot 2021-11-26 at 6.18.33 AM

From Cool Hunting:

A spectacular display of art and technology, artist and architect Suchi Reddy's "me + you" sculpture bursts with light, color, and collective emotion in the central rotunda of the Smithsonian Institution Arts and Industries Building.

The architecturally significant museum — which opened on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. in 1881 — closed in 2004.

It now reopens with an exhibition called FUTURES, where Reddy's work plays a pivotal role.

Underscoring the glowing, interactive artwork is the concept that our emotions contribute to the world around us.


To understand the shimmering 20-foot-tall work requires knowing how to interact with it.

Visitors to the museum can step up to one of the sculpture's nine mandalas.

When the mandala turns green, say "my future looks…" and add a fourth word of your own choosing that represents how you feel.

Through voice-recognition technology, machine learning, and an algorithm, the final word (and the tone used to convey it) is transformed into a unique explosion of color on the mandala.


After each individual representation ends, the colors all join in the central tower, creating a colorful, collective vision of the hopes and dreams of all participants.

"It's the work of so many talented people — a labor of love and passion on the part of everyone involved," said Reddy.

"The technology team at Amazon Web Services helped us with the backend and all of the information processing, as well as the AI and machine learning. My own tech team helped me create all of the visual code that overlays the patterns on the information that we get back from the machine learning data. My fabrication team at Bednark Studios helped me build this cloud sculpture that has thousands of acrylic tubes and nine mandalas, each of which has 1,600 LEDs hand-soldered within."


Reddy's mission statement has long been "form follows feeling."

As she explained to us, "We affect everyone and everything by how we feel and what we put into the world around us. Emotions bind us. They are a powerful medium through which we can affect change. That's why I want this sculpture to be something that helps people be self-aware and see how they can contribute to everyone else's vision for the future."

FUTURES is part of the Smithsonian's 175th anniversary programming.

For those can't make it to the museum before July 2022, Reddy worked with Amazon Web Services and Hovercraft Studio to bring "me + you" online (soundtracked with work from Sacha Mendel).


December 3, 2021 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

What is it?


Answer here this time tomorrow.

Hint: smaller than a bread box.

Another: moving parts.

A third: no camera.

Also in Sand:


December 3, 2021 at 08:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (1)

December 2, 2021

'Ink and Brush: Follow a Wandering Line' — Lynda Barry

Yes, that Lynda Barry.

"A little tutorial for an easy brush exercise to help you get to know your brush."

December 2, 2021 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Oreo Thins — Wegmans v Amazon: No Contest

Screen Shot 2021-11-25 at 6.58.45 AM

[L: Oreo Thins; R: Original Oreos]

On my most recent — approximately monthly — foray to Wegmans I suddenly had a hankering for Oreo Thins, which to me verge on being candy — excellent candy — more than cookie.

From a 2015 review when they were introduced: "Dunk away to your heart's content, but the Oreo Thin will need a little more time than the original to saturate with milk. The original softens at 19 seconds, while the Oreo Thin takes 37 seconds to soak."

More: "Throwing journalistic objectivity out the window, this writer much prefers Oreo Thins. They're crispier and more chocolaty because of a higher cookie to cream ratio." 

Note to self: offer the writer, Stefanie Tuder, a job on my Crack Research Team©®.

But I digress.

I stood in front of the Oreo wall, which featured zillions of permutations and variations on the original, but espied no Thins.

Then I took a few minutes to carefully inspect each of the many rows of Oreo variants looking for Thins: though I discovered many that were new to me and mildly appealing, my ThinQuest©®* yielded nada.

So, once I returned home I ordered Thins from Amazon, which always has them in stock.

Amazon triumphs because product placement space IRL is always going to be limited.

Remember when people used to fight having a Walmart because of its effect on local stores?

Same thing happened when Amazon rose: so many people saying they'd never buy stuff online, especially from Amazon.

Hard to find someone these days who hasn't shopped at Walmart or Amazon.

*See what I did there?

December 2, 2021 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)

'Planktonium' — What lies beneath? (Part 2*)

From Colossal:

With the aid of multiple microscopes, filmmaker and photographer Jan van IJken unveils the otherwise imperceptible maneuvers and bodily transformations of plankton.

He focuses on a diverse array of underwater organisms, which all fall under the same taxonomy because of their inability to swim against the tides.

They are crucial to life on Earth, providing half of all oxygen through photosynthesis.

Set against black backdrops, the marine drifters appear otherworldly in shape and color;

The filmmaker documents water flea eggs visible through translucent membranes, the spiked fringe of cyanobacteria, and the minuscule movements of various creatures as they wriggle across the screen.

Planktonium is accompanied by an audio composition by Norwegian artist Jana Winderen, which features sounds that are generally too difficult for humans to hear unaided, including the gurgles of water deep below the surface.

In addition to the truncated film shown above — find the full 15-minute version here — van Ijken also released a photo series of the strange creatures, which are available in prints as part of a limited-edition boxed set on his site.

*Part 1 appeared on November 25, 2021.

December 2, 2021 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

What is it?

P horiz

Answer here this time tomorrow.

Hint: bigger than a bread box.




December 2, 2021 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Pure White Hell Jigsaw Puzzle


Just the thing for your best frenemy.


From websites:

Finished puzzle size: 15" x 10"

1000 micro pieces each approximately 0.5" x 0.5"

• Perfect for the person who has to finish what they start:

• "I bought this puzzle because my team at work was going through one 1000 piece puzzle a week. This puzzle stopped them dead in their tracks. They managed about 10 connections over the course of a month, after they separated the pieces into quarter puzzles based on the pattern on the back. They eventually gave up and got back to work."



That's less than 2¢ per piece.

You could calculate it.

December 2, 2021 at 08:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (1)

December 1, 2021

'Margot' — Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec


The artist was 16-17 years old when he painted this oil on canvas in 1881.

He died in 1901 at 36.

Today, at least in the U.S., most people know him as the artist who painted posters for the Moulin Rouge and other Parisian nightclubs.

He's far more than that.

In a 2005 auction at Christie's, La Blanchisseuse, his early (1886-87) painting of a young laundress, sold for $22.4 million and set a new record for the artist for a price at auction.

It remains the highest price ever paid for a work by Toulouse-Lautrec.



"Margot" (in a private collection) in its entirety.

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

Oldest businesses around the world

Screen Shot 2021-11-19 at 8.40.24 AM

December 1, 2021 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Why are the ESPN App & ESPN+ so difficult to use?

Screen Shot 2021-11-25 at 9.34.18 AM

I thought it was just me being a TechnoDolt©® that was the root cause of my routine FAILs when it comes to trying to watch something on the ESPN app, for which I've been paying $6.99/month since forever.

But no: turns out it's a common problem.

The thing I hate most — even more than the chaotic disorganization of the zillions of games and replays and features — is how, when I'm all comfortable and cozy in my TV chair and ready to watch, up comes a screen that says I need to go to my computer or phone or tablet and enter the multi-letter/number code on my TV to watch.



December 1, 2021 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)


A 10-episode series on Apple TV+ based on Isaac Asimov's "Foundation" series.

Set 12,000 years into the future, the cities and vehicles and technologies are wonderfully rendered, though the likelihood of them being anything like what real life will be like 12,000 years from now approaches zero.

"Real life," for that matter, may be what we would now call unreal.

Great cast, storylines that intertwine and go forward, backward, and sideways in time to the point I gave up trying to keep track and just enjoyed the spectacle.

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

bookofjoe's Favorite Thing: Tech 21 iPhone case


I got one right after I bought my iPhone XS Max in November of 2018 and both phone and case are still providing impeccable service.

I aim to get a fourth year out of both until November of next year, when Apple should finally shake things up big-time iPhone-wise after years of incremental change.


My phone has survived many drops from up to head height onto hard surfaces like Saltillo tile (the most frequent impact substance, here at home), concrete, wood floors, etc. with nary a problem.

In addition, the minimalist case exposes as much of the beautiful phone as is compatible with the device's safe preservation.


Made in England.

Highest possible recommendation.

Also, a great gift for someone who invariably has a cracked screen and is resigned to such.

Doesn't have to be that way.

The newest cases, for iPhone 13, start at $29.99; earlier model iPhone cases are knocked down as low as $8.99.

They're all here.

December 1, 2021 at 08:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

November 30, 2021

BehindTheMedspeak: Should you pee on a jellyfish sting?

[via Phys.Org]

November 30, 2021 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)

A visit to Kroger pharmacy


Above, a screenshot from my recent RayBan Stories video (below).

As I was getting it ready for boj, I noticed the similarity to a cubist collage.

See the man?

Talk to his hand.

November 30, 2021 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Mercedes-Benz W125 Rekordwagen hit 268 mph — in 1938

Screen Shot 2021-11-24 at 8.02.56 AM

Two days in a row focusing on speed....

Tell you what, the design of this puppy puts McLaren's latest in the shade.

From Wikipedia:

Rudolf Caracciola's record of 268 mph on 28 January 28, 1938 remained the fastest ever officially timed speed on a public road until broken November 5, 2017 by Koenigsegg in an Agera RS driven by Niklas Lilja, achieving 276.9 mph on a closed highway in Nevada.

It also was the fastest speed ever recorded in Germany until Rico Anthes bested it with a Top Fuel Dragster on the Hockenheimring drag strip.

Caraciolla's record breaking run was made on the Reichs-Autobahn A5 between Frankfurt and Darmstadt, where onlookers were rattled by the brutal boom of the side-spewing exhaust stacks as the silver car hurtled past.

By nine that morning,Caracciola and team chief Alfred Neubauer were having a celebration breakfast at the Park Hotel in Frankfurt.

Popular driver Bernd Rosemeyer was killed later the same day when trying to beat that record for Auto Union.

This also put an end to the record attempts of Mercedes.

More photos here.

You can see the Rekordwagen in person at the Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart, Germany.

November 30, 2021 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

« December 1, 2021