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June 7, 2010

The art of illusion

"I created these all of these from scratch using Photoshop and Lightwave 3D."

[via bennybb]

June 7, 2010 at 05:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Mouse of stone

Bhjnkml,;'

By Russian designer Neko.

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[via my7475 and English Russia]

June 7, 2010 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Above top secret: Bletchley Park WWII archive to go online

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Here's Dhruti Shah's June 5, 2010 BBC News story about the upcoming project, which will bring the war's most tightly-held material into the light after six decades in deep black.

Above, cryptographers at work at Bletchley Park.

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Bletchley Park WWII archive to go online

Millions of documents stored at the World War II code-breaking centre, Bletchley Park, are set to be digitised and made available online.

Electronics company Hewlett-Packard has donated a number of scanners to the centre in Milton Keynes so volunteers can begin the ground-breaking task.

Many of the records at the once-secret centre have not been touched for years.

During the war, it was home to more than 10,000 men and women who decoded encrypted German messages.

The centre hopes that once the work starts, previously untold stories about the role Bletchley Park played in the war, will be revealed.

The first phase of the project is expected to take at least three years.

Simon Greenish, chief executive officer of the Bletchley Park Trust, said the plan was for the centre's entire archive to be digitised.

He said: "We've been wanting to do this for a while. It was first discussed five years ago, but we have just never had the funds.

"If I ever manage to secure £10,000 then that goes towards buying a new roof as this project just has not had the attention it deserves.

"But for the first time we hope we will be able to put everything into the public domain."

He said since the archive is so big nobody knows exactly what each individual document stored there contains.

However, the information they expect to dig out will definitely include communication transcripts, communiques, memoranda, photographs, maps and other material relating to key events that took place during the war.

He said: "We have many boxes full of index cards, which have lots of different messages on them. But this will be our chance to follow a trail and put the messages together so we can find out what they really mean.

"We found a card talking about 4,400 tonnes of mercury being transferred from Spain - we will be searching for further messages explaining what happened and why this was done."

He said the archive had tremendous potential and once it was online, people would find it easier to trace documents related to certain subjects within minutes - something that takes days to do now.

Pictures set to go online in the archive include ones of Adolf Hitler shortly after surviving an attempt to assassinate him. They had been taken by his official photographer Heinrich Hoffmann.

"I'm looking toward to finding the cards relating to rubber and ball bearings and how the Germans gathered these materials.

"The Germans developed synthetic rubber as they found it hard to get natural rubber. They also needed lots of ball bearings for the war effort, which is why the allied forces attacked a lot of ball bearing factories."

He said there were records in the archive which showed countries such as Spain, Switzerland and Sweden were perhaps not as neutral as they were portrayed.

"It is quite clear there was a lot of correspondence going on between these countries," he said.

He said the volunteers had already unearthed records showing countries including Spain dealing in diamonds with the Japanese and other German allies.

He said more information about the double agent Garbo - a Spaniard whose real name was Juan Pujol Garcia - was likely to come out once the work on the archive began.

Garbo, who has been described as World War II's "greatest double agent", persuaded the Nazis that the allied forces were planning their D-Day operation in Calais rather than Normandy.

He said he was also expecting more information about the fuel the Germans were discovered to be sending to Pennemuende, a small village close to the Baltic Sea.

The hard copies of the documents are stored in a massive room

He said: "We didn't know anything about it initially, but then because of the message that Bletchley Park decoded, the allies sent a reconnaissance aircraft and they found out that rockets - weapons of terror - were being developed there. The RAF then attacked the site."

He said the documents were all important as just one obscure message could have led to thousands of lives being saved.

Laura Seymour, from Hewlett-Packard, said her company contacted Bletchley Park in September 2009 after learning of its plight.

The company donated a number of scanners and people to provide technical expertise to the charity.

Ms Seymour estimated the cost to HP was in the tens of thousands but said it was a project that was worth being involved in.

Mr Greenish believed the archive would be an important research tool and could even attract more people to the site. It would also ensure the preservation of the fragile hard copies.

Currently most of the documents are too difficult to view or handle and few have access to them. But Bletchley Park hopes that its new archive will one day be a different type of gateway to the past.

June 7, 2010 at 03:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (5) | TrackBack

Spun Chair

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Shaped like a spinning top,

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made from

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brushed and polished

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spun steel and copper.

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Limited edition,

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produced for London gallery

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Haunch of Venison.

Wdewfregthjk

By Thomas Heatherwick.

[via LikeCool and dezeen]

June 7, 2010 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

SETI Post-Detection Task Group

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According to Wikipedia, it was established in 2005 "to act as a Standing Committee to be available to be called on at any time to advise and consult on questions stemming from the discovery of a putative signal of extraterrestrial origin."

Read the first chapter of committee chairman Paul Davies' new book, "The Eerie Silence: Renewing Our Search for Alien Intelligence," here.

June 7, 2010 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Flying Carpet Rug

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From $665, depending on size.

[via 9gag]

June 7, 2010 at 11:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

"Natalia Osipova proved herself the most sensational ballerina now before the public"

Up top in the headline, part of the opening sentence of Alastair Macaulay's June 4, 2010 New York Times review of Natalia Osipova's Kitri in "Don Quixote" on June 1, 2010 at the Metropolitan Opera House.

Above, video from that performance.

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Dancing as Kitri [above and below] in “Don Quixote” on Tuesday night at the Metropolitan Opera House, Natalia Osipova proved herself the most sensational ballerina now before the public. Kitri was the first major role for which Ms. Osipova — a Russian star of the Bolshoi Ballet, now in her second spring season as guest artist with American Ballet Theater — earned international acclaim. It’s clear why. She has a gamine quality; you can imagine this Kitri as the most riveting of street urchins. And she’s a theater animal. The turn of her head, the flash of her smile, the immediacy of her response to the music, the intensity of her attention to her colleagues: these and other signs show she is never more alive than onstage.

Even if you knew from other roles that Ms. Osipova has the most remarkable vertical takeoff of any ballerina today, her jumps in Act I of “Don Quixote” were, time and again, astounding. She’s in the air in the blink of an eye, and, once up there, she can stay, exploding sideways. Or, in the image that Russian Kitris over the past 60 years have made a signature, she splits her legs in profile so that while the front one aims downward like a hovering javelin, her head and raised arms arch back to reach the other foot. (This is known as “the Plisetskaya head-kick” [below]

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after the Bolshoi ballerina who first made it phenomenal.) On Tuesday, a sideways jump that is usually a mere transition became colossal. Sweeping across the stage in other jumps, Ms. Osipova became the first dancer in memory to make the vast spaces of the Met seem too small.

Yet better is the way Ms. Osipova makes every detail count. Just the way her Kitri found a moment to gossip eagerly with two girlfriends was terrific; then her boyfriend, Basilio (Jose Manuel Carreño, very appealing and with all the right braggadocio for the role), pulled her back into the dance. Amid the opening passage of the Act III grand pas de deux, she suddenly flashed a smile across the stage at another companion. (Yes! Don’t you agree this is the best day in history?)

And though her jump is the most astonishing weapon in her armory, there’s no feature of the bravura choreography in which she doesn’t shine. Ms. Osipova seems not to need to prepare for balances on point (some of them with the other leg extended sideways past head height). Her fouetté turns — done on a dime — are sparklingly embellished by extra revolutions. In adagio phrasing she has sweep and assurance. And those feet! She can throw them down like rapid-fire darts in Act I or, in her Act III solo, keep plunging them down with greater texture.

Ms. Osipova burns so bright that in this old “Don Quixote” war horse she makes new sense of its nonsense. She’s a comet: no wonder she lights up the mind of the poor befuddled Don so that he envisages her as his Dulcinea. True, she could find a yet more exciting arc for the role. Act I is electrifying and life-enhancing, whereas Act III turns into something closer to conventional ballet formula.

Yet what an artist she is. Although we’re lucky that Ballet Theater keeps showing different facets of her artistry, it’s impossible not to crave others.

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Natalia Osipova will dance in “The Sleeping Beauty” on June 19 and in “Romeo and Juliet” on July 10; Metropolitan Opera House, Lincoln Center; abt.org.


June 7, 2010 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Android Belt

11

Black chrome/black leather.

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$145.

[via Running Dive]

June 7, 2010 at 09:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

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