Monday, March 29, 2010

Crocheting Adventures with Hyperbolic Planes

Daina Taimina's book mixing math and crochet won the UK's 'Odd' Prize, the Diagram Award with a non-euclidean tribute to home economic arts. "Crocheting Adventures with Hyperbolic Planes" is filled with over 200 color photograph's and Taimina, a mathematics professor at Cornell University, also gives you a delightful crash course in curvature and differential geometry using examples like pears and kale to represent complex forms.

The pictures are so awesome I don't know what to do with myself. The images are organic, futuristic and (dare I say) a little bit steam punk in application. Why, why aren't all of our clothes made with hyperbolic planes?

For a more in-depth explanation of hyperbolic geometry including an interview with Taimina, "Crocheting the Hyperbolic Plane: An Interview with David Henderson and Daina Taimina," by Cabinet Magazine contains vivid examples. For more about Taimina, the London Times article, "How crochet solved an age-old maths problem," has an interesting (if albeit overtly patriarchal) overview on how this traditionally feminine handicraft was initially dismissed by Taimina's friends and family but went on to fuel her breakthrough in modeling impossible mathematical forms.

The London Mathematical Society called it a coffee table book of the highest quality and the images should inspire mathematicians and crafty fingers alike. Math is delicious!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Take me out to the black

200 miles up, and armed with an 800mm lens, astronaut Soichi Noguchi is able to capture amazing, abstract views of the Earth from his vantage point on the International Space Station. The station only got web access this year, but Noguchi is taking full advantage, posting his pictures to Twitter several times a day. Think about that the next time you're updating your foursquare location.

Follow him @Astro_Soichi. photo: Arabian sand dunes

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Rise of the Flapper

So I've been known to glorify a pin-up or two., fancy a burlesque show and traipse myself off the a 20's themed fancy dress party. Some of these highly estimable obsessions could use some context. Mental Floss has a lovely article, "The Rise of the Flapper," that describes the movement of post World War I women to kick up their heels and roll down their stockings. Early pioneers of feminism, flappers followed the suffragettes in flaunting patriarchal authority by putting on trousers, throwing caution to the wind, and making their own decisions about how they wanted to live their lives. Well-done, sister suffragettes.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Dr. Sketchy's Anti-Art School

At the intersection of studio art and cabaret you will find Dr. Sketchy. These twice monthly salons give artists the chance to exercise their life drawing skills and become part of the show. The models don't just pose - there are skits, dancing, and contests throughout the evening. It's life captured in ink and paint while it's happening. The focus is on the models, talented performers from the burlesque and drag stages, and other beautiful people with "unusual physiology, insane costuming, or extreme physical skills". Dr. Sketchy is headquartered in NYC, and can be found in 80+ cities worldwide.

photo credit: Andras Frenyo / NYT

Monday, March 22, 2010

Style Rookie

It has occurred to me that I'd never even heard of Tavi Gevinson till a few weeks ago. This Chicago-based fashion blogger, known for her unique yet-edgy, Chanel-like drive, witty commentary, and razor-edged style dissections is not yet fourteen. I want to dis-like her. There has to be some weird, exploitative, pop-culture catch. But the idea that this pubescent wearing "awkward jackets and pretty hats" started blogging quietly and invisibly underneath her parents noses and was only outed because she needed their permission to appear in a New York Times magazine article is too smooth a reticent dork/geek, drama/in-your-face combo move not to admire. Target's new Rodarte line for their Go International series is said to be inspired by her personal style.

Stuff like this should be happening to clever pre-adolescents who are too young to know better than to dream big and conquor the world. Remember 11th grader, Daniel Burg solved the plastic bag recycling problem in three months.

Bloggers like Tavi have been heralded as the new "frontline of fashion." Well, I know it was no sensible person with an active imagination and sense of aesthetics who thought it was okay to bring the Eighties back to the market. That could have only been thought up by a hack-worthy adult. Enjoy Tavi's blog, Style Rookie and get yourself some learning.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

'Find Me A Dodo' And Other Absurd Requests

Read National Public Radio blog post, "'Find Me A Dodo' And Other Absurd Requests," which describes the journey of short film director, Laurie Hill as he created, "Photograph of Jesus," which won the 2009 McLaren Award for New British Animation at Edinburgh International Film Festival. Produced in response to a request to create a film using material from the Getty Hulton Archive for the Short and Sweet Film Challenge, the film follows archivist Matthew Butson through a short, magical, stop motion ride of the extremely varied, always unpredictable, and very often hysterical requests received by one of the world's oldest and largest archives of photography. The film uses cutout images attached to wires to illustrate the story and its better than a world of chalk drawings.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Architecture in Dinnerware

On my wish list are the architecturally inspired "Palace Collection," designed by Alessandro Zambelli for Italian dinnerware geniuses Seletti. Each set of six cereal bowls, soup dishes, dinners plates and desert saucers stack to create a Renaissance era Florentine building when not in use. Serving dishes are inverted to make the roofs. When unstacked you literally eat off the floor, err, floorplan. These dishes will make it perfectly normal for adults to own dollhouses. As long as you can eat off them. The Palace Collection is available in April from A-R and the Conran Shop. New York Times article, "Architecture in Dinnerware," also has a nice review. Delicious.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Joan Paper Doll, Mad Men Season 3

Dyna Moe, the talented artist, vintage enthusiast and Mad Men apologist behind the wildly popular Mad Men Illustrations on Flickr came out last Autumn with her Mad Men series 3 Joan Paper Doll kit. Moe has become the official unofficial artist de facto for the series, illustrating calendars, contests, Christmas cards and desktop wallpaper. Unfortunately, though you can download her creations from her "Mad Men Illustrated," page, she is unable to sell prints or merchandise
with any of the images due to a request from the Lionsgate affiliates who own AMC.

There is a lovely "Q & A," with her at the AMC Mad Men website.

PS Notice the blood stains on the "Tractor Dress"

Monday, March 8, 2010

Literacy, Curiosity, Education, And Being 'In Your Face'

Called, "the Carl Sagan of the 21 Century" and "sexiest astrophysicist alive" by Time Magazine, the director of the Hayden Planetarium at the American Museum of Natural History in New York, Neil Degrasse Tyson is not only the sometime guest of John Stewart's The Daily Show and Stephen Cobert's The Colbert Report. He's best known a that gutsy guy who took Pluto of the planetary guest list in 2006.

In NPR Interview "Neil deGrasse Tyson On Literacy, Curiosity, Education, And Being 'In Your Face'" he discusses the meaning of "science literacy", the importance of thinking for yourself, and why kids should be allowed to break things.

In high school, teachers warned me about spreading my interests too thin. The phrase "Jack of All Trades But Master of None," escaped one of their lips. So don't forget to read Linda Holmes epilogue, "Why Educators Need A 'Cultural Utility Belt," where deGrasse Tyson explains why that's just bunk. Hey, if it was good enough for Da Vinci then it should be good enough for grade schoolers.

You can catch deGrasse Tyson hosting Nova's Origins series and The Pluto Files on PBS.