<body><script type="text/javascript"> function setAttributeOnload(object, attribute, val) { if(window.addEventListener) { window.addEventListener('load', function(){ object[attribute] = val; }, false); } else { window.attachEvent('onload', function(){ object[attribute] = val; }); } } </script> <div id="navbar-iframe-container"></div> <script type="text/javascript" src="https://apis.google.com/js/plusone.js"></script> <script type="text/javascript"> gapi.load("gapi.iframes:gapi.iframes.style.bubble", function() { if (gapi.iframes && gapi.iframes.getContext) { gapi.iframes.getContext().openChild({ url: 'https://www.blogger.com/navbar.g?targetBlogID\x3d33040389\x26blogName\x3d%5B+This+Space+Intentionally+Blank+%5D\x26publishMode\x3dPUBLISH_MODE_BLOGSPOT\x26navbarType\x3dBLACK\x26layoutType\x3dCLASSIC\x26searchRoot\x3dhttps://thisspaceblank.blogspot.com/search\x26blogLocale\x3den_US\x26v\x3d2\x26homepageUrl\x3dhttp://thisspaceblank.blogspot.com/\x26vt\x3d-4541652600132795050', where: document.getElementById("navbar-iframe-container"), id: "navbar-iframe" }); } }); </script>

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Trailer -Treasure

The trailer, or "caravan" is a popular way of getting out and about in Australia. In fact, this country seems ideally suited to them - pull up on a piece of coast and park it for awhile. While pitching a tent is easy enough and perfectly adequate, I can't help but drool over particularly sweet bits of trailage.

Basecamp (airstream)

It's the little ones that appeal the most to me. Towing a trailer is reason enough not to get one - slow, ponderous, gas guzzling, limited to reasonable roads. Driving behind someone towing a behemoth is reason to hate them.

But some of the little ones don't require an SUV to move 'em, and can be quite nimble. I've seen a few Oz-engineered versions that are even jacked up with off-road tires and suspension.

Other Oz versions are custom creations of remarkable ingenuity that fold out like origami and create much larger structures plus have mounts for the BBQ and all the toys. I really should photograph some of them on my next outing.

For the time being, here are some slick looking mini campers that I wouldn't mind parking for weeks at a time beside a perfect left on the remote west coast.

This Deseo is a bit large, but it is niiiice... all sorts of modular multi-useage practical bits and check this scan-design interior.

The Bambi CCD (airstream)
Timeless classic.
See the Basecamp above and in this link for a more aggro-kid trailer.

Teardrop (desert tears)
Compact, but functional...if you are short.

BIOD 1969 Extase (via biod.net)

A few more:
the T@B
the Squidget
the Concord
the Puck

Shaolin Black Crane Style


Here's a cool Architecture Geeky fabric print from Fokus Fabrik.
This print could really give your room a lift. Start with this and build on it.

(via Spray Glue)


I, for one, welcome our new robot overlords.

Inhabitat has an interesting piece on this 3 dimensional contour crafting machine, developed by Behrokh Khoshnevis at USC. It's basically a CNC machine similar to those used in milling processes, only this one extrudes material.

Apparently they plan to build a house soon with this method.

This is inspiring to see, but like most developing ideas much remains to be worked out before the final product is market ready; if ever.
I see a number of positives and negatives to comment on, some of which have been already mentioned in the reader comment section, some not.


- Forming concrete in this way will certainly save tons of formwork material- a costly, time consuming, and environmentally wasteful practice.

- Building with concrete is durable, which may begin a trend away from “disposable” architecture that is so common.

- Concrete provides great thermal mass, which if used well, provides excellent passive climate benefits.

- Potentially very quick way to build.

- Decrease costs of building with labor savings.

- Material and method makes complex forms easy to create.

- For openings, the machine can be programmed to leave gaps in the walls, and then a steel angle lintel could be laid in place by workers as the machine returns across the top of the opening to form the wall above.


- Concrete placed by this machine is not reinforced, which excludes it from use just about anywhere the States. Non-reinforced masonry is common in Australia and non-seismic zones, so there is likely still an application internationally.

- Concrete as a material has a relatively high embodied energy cost (mining, processing, transportation) - unless the buildings built of solid concrete remain for a very long time, it’s eco cost is likely higher than if built with a renewable resource.

- Weight of structure may not be suitable for some locations with poor bearing capacities.

- Insulation required for most climates means that framing and wall linings are still necessary.

- Solid walls do not accommodate concealed services; either live with exposed pipes and conduit or see note above.

- Setting up a solid and accurate framework to support the machine on site so that it can build accurately will be difficult and will likely require large clearances beyond the building perimeter, and likely foundations of its own. Must be a pretty beefy framework to support not just the machinery, but the heavy wet material being placed, and must be able to handle the rapid changes in direction that the machine makes without distortion.

- Same concerns stated by others about material in lower courses compressing from weight of courses above, or an incorrect "slump" mix wreaking havoc.

- Same concerns about keeping the machine working properly during use, and the potentially huge cost of having it break when a couple dozen full concrete trucks are standing by.

- An interruption in the flow of material causes a problem.

- Concrete is more expensive (initially) than most alternative building materials. Though this may be more than offset substantially by elimination of the formwork cost and labor, putting this in the plus column.

- Arranging furniture in a curved room is difficult. Ok I’m just kidding.

Well that’s what comes to mind right off.
Regardless, I love to see people pushing the boundaries of building technology.

And I knew all along that Play-Doh was more than just a toy.

Everyone Wants to be a Duck or a Tarheel

now go home

With a foothold in one of these states and family in the other, I found the following article interesting:
from re:PDX

United Van Lines released its 2006 study on migration and finds Oregon at #2 overall in the nation for inbound moves. At 64%, only North Carolina tops the Beaver State for overall ratio of inbound to outbound moves. Over 62% of moves involving Oregon were inbound.

Last year, Oregon topped the study. It was the 19th straight year for Oregon to have more entrants than exiters.
Quick! Spread more rumors of rain or something!
...but its good for property values!
I'm so conflicted.

Friday, January 26, 2007


Swine Seppeku
"One eats with pleasure and without fatigue" (Caffeine Sausage?)

Appetizing, huh?

And if you think that is a scary pig, try this.


indoctrination starts early

For you Architects and Designers out there, Core77 has an amusing collection of quotes, sayings, jokes, and "isms" from the design professions. Link-tastic

A small selection:

Talking about design is like dancing about baking
(variation on a common one in Arch school)

If you try to polish a turd, all you get is shit on your hands.

Q. How many designers does it take to screw in a lightbulb?
A. Why does it have to be a lightbulb?

"You're not paid to think kid, you're paid to design"

"If I give you approval, what can I still change?"

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Seats for Tubby People

A couple unique items for the bath living room:

by Flavour Design

wash where you sit
by Reddish

These should be a hit with all the people feeling drained out there; I expect the designers are really gonna clean up.

Inspiring adaptive reuse - not that we know...um... anyone...that would have an extra bathtub in their back yard or anything.

via Treehugger

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Ninja-rific Japanese Gameshow

Very impressive. Makes Olympic gymnasts look like wooses on their lil' pommel horses.

Niagra's Hidden Innards

tunnels under niagra

Tailrace tunnels beneath Niagra Falls. A very daring bit of urban exploration by the boys at Sleepycity.

Bunny Trifecta - The Hare Raising Sequel

A bunny to speak to you:

Hare today

The Nabaztag wi-fi rabbit companion. This lil' bunny will read RSS feeds, emails, and other things to you. While wiggling it's ears. And blinking lights. Oh, and it does Tai Chi.

Bunnies that kick, uh, tail. Soft furry tail:

Crouching Bunny, Hidden Rabbit

Kung Fu Bunnies
! 'nuff said.

and Devil Bunny Hates the Earth:

Game Bun

The board game. By Cheapass Games.

Devil Bunny hates the Earth.

And so he has decided to wreak his revenge upon the Globe by manufacturing a very unsatisfying brand of saltwater taffy.

(Not to be confused with this, this, this, this, this, this, or this Devil Bunny.)

Left Behind. To Slaughter Infidels.

Left Behind to do some Shooting

A common criticism leveled at Muslims is that they don't do enough to speak out against the radical elements of their religion which are warping public perception against the whole religion. Fair enough.

Likewise, Christianity has some radical elements that I don't see the mainstream Christians doing much to reign in. A prime example is the Left Behind series, and the new Left Behind video game.

Based on a perception of biblical end times this game advocates, in the developer's own words, to "Conduct physical & spiritual warfare : using the power of prayer to strengthen your troops in combat and wield modern military weaponry throughout the game world." and "Command your forces through intense battles...fighting in China Town, SoHo , Uptown and more!"

Basically, the aim of the game is to "convert" (to Christianity) as many people as you can, and kill those that you can't.

Does this sort of thing sound familiar?
Does the word "jihad" ring a bell?

Some Christians are speaking out against this game, but so far surprisingly few.
From an MSNBC article:
“Part of the object is to kill or convert the opposing forces,” said the Rev. Tim Simpson of Jacksonville, Fla., who heads the Christian Alliance for Progress. “It is antithetical to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.”
"Frederick Clarkson..."The message is. ... there will be religious warfare, and you will target your fellow Americans, people from other faiths, people who you consider to be sinners.”"
Shockingly, many Christian organizations generally thought of as mainstream, have come out in support of this game. Dr. James Dobson's Focus on the Family gave the game a positive review (which they have now taken off the web). The game and/or books are also endorsed by Promise Keepers, Women of Faith, Concerned Women for America, and "numerous others" according to their website. I personally know people who are members of these organizations.

This is not just a fringe phenom.
The book series, on which the game is based, has printed a shocking 50 million copies, and the 10th book debuted at #1 on the New York Times best seller list. At one point in 1998, this series simultaneously occupied the top four slots on the NYT list. (source)

Also notable in the article linked above from Catholic.com entitled "False Profit - Money, Prejudice, and Bad Theology in Tim LaHaye’s Left Behind Series" is the author Tim LaHayes close affiliation with Rev. Sun Moon - the self proclaimed "new messiah" and head of the Moonies. Now that is getting WAY beyond the bounds of Christianity.

Also the fact that LaHayes was one of the founders of the Moral Majority, which lobbied for legislation against many things, including violence in video games. Ironic that he is now marketing a shoot-em-up game.

So why has the Christian church supported these people and this kind of a warped message? Or of those that have not supported directly, been reluctant to come out against it and defend against the damage it is doing to public perception of the religion?

The parallels with the situation regarding extremists the Islamic world are plain. Interestingly, I find Christians to be the ones most vocal in their criticism of the Islamic situation. Perhaps they should be checking their own eyes, if you know what I mean.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Carter vs. Apartheid

Brave and Noble Jimmy

Ask anyone "are you for or against Apartheid?" and the answer is almost sure to be a vehement "against". We remember clearly the injustices of South Africa and the heroes like Nelson Mandela who sacrificed everything for reform.

Yet Jimmy Carter points out that a form of Apartheid is being practiced by a major world government and supported by our own government.

Why is this tolerated/supported by the U.S. and much of the international community?

A brief article about Carter's book and the firestorm of controversy here.

Carter's book is here.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Zilla Building

zilla building

Great architectural suggestion from Ironic Sans

Of course Tokyo is the preferred location for this building, but I wouldn't mind seeing it on the banks of the Willamette River. Or stomping Michael Graves' Portland Building.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

A Bunny Trifecta

Lately the subject of bunnies has come up in some emails with friends. And once I have rabbits on the mind, I get hare brained ideas like this all-bunny post.

First, GIANT bunnies:

giant bunnies

Apparently North Korea plans to breed these to alleviate food shortages. Says the article:
"Each of Karl's 'German Grey Monsters' weigh about 7kg and can be used to feed 8 people."
Hare-link (via Boing Boing) believe it?

Then, Footy Bunnies

Go the Rabbitohs

Sydney has a rugby team whose mascot is the fearsome...bunny.
Their name: South Sydney Rabbitohs.
Recently bought by Russell Crowe.
I can't make this stuff up.

And Finally, Suicidal Bunnies

Dumb Bunnies

A whole gallery of bunnies trying to off themselves.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

The Songlines

The Songlines by Bruce Chatwin

The Songlines
by Bruce Chatwin (also sold as just Songlines)
Beautiful and descriptive prose about Aboriginals and Australia certainly, but also about much larger themes of humanity. The overall story and the intermixed tales that populate the book are often humorous, always engaging, and illustrate ideas and conclusions culminating from Chatwin's wide travels and scholarly musings.
An Oz classic, I just recently read it and liked it so much I went immediately upon completion to get another of his books.

Francis, Jason, Jen & Lisa - might want to check it out prior to your Oz trip. Would add a rich level of meaning to your Uluru experiences.

Exxon Moves to Re-Position.

Toles Exxon

After a long history of funding the dis-information campaign against scientific evidence of human effects on climate change, Exxon has moved to distance itself from the coming backlash. Treehugger reports:
"According to the Wall Street Journal, Exxon has stopped funding the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CO2: We call it life) and "five or six" other groups active in the [anti] global-warming debate, Kenneth Cohen, Exxon's vice president for public affairs, confirmed this week in an interview at Exxon's headquarters in Irving, Texas.

...he added, "we know enough now -- or, society knows enough now -- that the risk is serious and action should be taken." "

Political Jumbalaya

Leeroy Jenkins = G.W. Bush
I don't play any video games at this point, and if I did, I'm not sure I would spend my time on World of Warcraft. Regardless, I was able to appreciate the humor inherent in this clip from a WoW game, which has become a widely circulated meme that is working its way into everything from Jeopardy! to South Park. But it was Wil Wheaton who connected the dots for me to see that Leeroy Jenkins and George Bush share some similarities.

Condoleeza Rice on Capitol Hill today
"It's bad policy to speculate on what you'll do if a plan fails when you're trying to make a plan work."
Huh? Even criminals in the movies have a plan B. Is she really telling us that they are not thinking about what to do if their brilliant plan doesn't work?

Apparently so:
Pressed on why he thought this strategy would succeed where previous efforts had failed, Mr. Bush shot back:
“Because it has to.”

Rice is Foxy:
Thursday she was recorded saying:
"My Fox guys, I love every single one of them."
Not that we didn't know this, but it is nice to see it put right out there.

Bush Hearts the Environment:
From the NY Times (via Tree Hugger)
"The Bush administration yesterday withdrew a proposal to change the way federal agencies assess environmental hazards, health threats and other risks, after an expert panel declared that it was so scientifically flawed that it “could not be rescued.”"
Finally some good politics:
From CNN:
"The Senate on Friday approved a measure stripping taxpayer-funded pensions from members of Congress who are convicted of serious ethics offenses, such as bribery and conspiracy."
Now that's a bill that makes some sense. More:
"If passed by the House and signed into law by President Bush, the bill would eliminate pensions only for future members of Congress convicted of ethics offenses. Ex-congressmen such as Randall "Duke" Cunningham -- collecting an estimated $64,000 a year although he pleaded guilty to charges of accepting bribes"
Sure sounds good to me; too bad it doesn't mention stiff criminal charges for these slimeballs.
I hope this makes it past the House.

Psychology of Political Stance
Here is a fascinating study in Psychology Today (via Kottke). A snip:
"We tend to believe our political views have evolved by a process of rational thought, as we consider arguments, weigh evidence, and draw conclusions. But the truth is more complicated. ...The fear of death alone is surprisingly effective in shaping our political decisions—more powerful, often, than thought itself."

"Asking people to be rational was enough to neutralize the effects of reminders of death. Preliminary research shows that reminding people that as human beings, the things we have in common eclipse our differences—what psychologists call a "common humanity prime"—has the same effect."

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Getting Grass on High

toyota roof gardens

Those of you who have designed (or tried to include) green roofs in a project have encountered the three big obstacles:

1. Depth:
Plants need soil to grow, and plants of any size need even more soil. The thinnest systems ("extensive" type) that can support grasses or sedums are generally recommended to be 3 to 4 inches of soil. Additionally, the soil sits on a thick multi-layered system beneath: a filter fabric, a drainage/water retention eggcrate, a moisture mat, a root barrier, and finally the roof membrane - give or take a few layers depending on system.
the big stack

2. Irrigation:
You went to all that effort - you want to keep it alive. The thinner the system, the quicker it dries out. Designing an irrigation system is necessary. Integrating it can be a challenge.

3. Weight:
You can imagine that the soil and plants will weight more than an average roof; now imagine it all wet and holding moisture. The added weight of a green roof needs to be accommodated from the start of the project, and translates into a beefier structural system with its added expense.

While most agree that a green roof is an excellent idea - slows storm water runoff, decreases urban heat island effect, looks nicer, absorbs CO2 and creates oxygen, increases wildlife habitat, filters contaminants, provides natural insulation, etc. - the effort and expense involved often sees a green roof disappearing midway through the design development.

Enter this new product (picture at top).
As Inhabit writes:
"the folks from Toyota Roof Gardens (a subsidiary of the Prius-creating car company) have solved your green roof installation qualms with a tile-based system that’s as easy as laying down carpet. The TM9 self-watering turf tiles measure twenty inches square, and connect directly to irrigation systems, making them entirely self-watering. And at a slim 2 inches thick, the tiles lightweight and do not require any additional structural upgrading to your existing roof."

While a grass lawn isn't necessarily as appealing as the variety of plants one can grow in a thicker system, it's still nicer than a roofing membrane. My follow-up questions would be:
  • Does the super thin system then mean that it dries out very quickly requiring a whole lot more water than usual?
  • How water intensive is the grass variety itself? Sedums planted in traditional systems can survive dry periods and require little water; must the grass be always kept moist?
  • If a small patch dies, how difficult is it to replace?
  • Does the grass require fertilizers or other special food or chemical products to keep it happy?
Now the next challenge comes in the form of designing in the fall restraint system for you and your lawn mower...

More about Pat

This guy is just too much.

Pat Robertson is also selling an “Age-Defying Shake”, which he claims has given him the ability to leg-press 2000 pounds. Link

Here is what others say about this claim:

CBS Sportline: There is no way on earth Robertson leg presses 2,000 pounds. That would mean a 76-year-old man broke the all-time Florida State University leg press record by 665 pounds over Dan Kendra. 665 pounds. Further, when he set the record, they had to modify the leg press machine to fit 1,335 pounds of weight. Plus, Kendra's capillaries in his eyes burst. Burst.

In response to the skepticism of this claim, Robertson's website has claimed that his doctor is able to leg press 2,700 pounds, and that "It is not nearly as hard as the authors of these reports make it out to be."

Wikipedia also points out the improbability of finding a machine to hold the 2000 pounds,

(That is 44 of those big 45 lb plates)

and also points out that the picture on Pat’s website shows a 45 degree machine that effectively reduces the weight significantly [ sin(45°) ], as well as him pressing his knees with his arms, and other things.

This is kinda like me claiming to have bench pressed 3000 pounds because I push-started a car.


That must be one of the ingredients in the shake.

Previously: Pat Preaches Destruction for 2007

Monday, January 08, 2007

NYC Powerwash

NYC Powerwash

Here's a picture of what a simple powerwash can uncover in New York's Lower East Side.
If they keep that up, I'm not going to be able to afford to buy a building or two like I had planned.

Link (Gothamist via Kottke)

Pat Preaches Destruction for 2007

Trusted Wacko religious leader Pat Robertson made a chilling prediction for 2007:

Happening in the U.S. during "the second half" of 2007, "there will be some very serious terrorist attacks," and there is "a definite certainty ... chaos is going to rule." Robertson added: "I'm not saying necessarily nuclear -- the Lord didn't say nuclear -- but I do believe it'll be something like that. They'll be a mass killing, possibly millions of people -- major cities injured."

And this is not just his prediction, he is saying "the Lord told me". And he makes this claim several times. Watch the video.

But don't head for the fallout shelters just yet. Remember this is the same man who has previously had his discussions with God and predicted:

  • 2006: "President Bush is going to strengthen."
  • 2006: "The fall elections will be inconclusive, but the outcome of the war and the success of the economy will leave the Republicans in charge."
  • 2006: "the war in Iraq is going to come to a successful conclusion. We'll begin withdrawing troops before the end of this year."
  • 2006: storms and possibly a tsunami were to crash into America’s coastline
  • 2005: Bush will have Social Security Reforms approved
  • 1996: predicted that U.S. Sen. Jay Rockefeller would be elected president
  • 1988: "God" wanted Pat Robertson to be President
  • 1981: predicted a global economic collapse
  • 1980: predicted that the USSR would invade the Middle East.
Here are a few more of his jewels - and there are lots more of them:
  • christians & jews are the only ones qualified to be in government (700 Club - Jan 11, 1985). "...I never said that." ( afterwards, Time Magazine) "yes they (christians & jews) are more qualified to be in government" (p218 New World Order)
  • "You say you're supposed to be nice to the Episcopalians and the Presbyterians and the Methodists and this, that, and the other thing. Nonsense. I don't have to be nice to the spirit of the Antichrist. I can love the people who hold false opinions but I don't have to be nice to them."(700 Club Jan 14, 1991)
  • Recommended assassination of Milosevic, Saddam Hussein, and Hugo Chavez
  • "The feminist agenda is not about equal rights for women. It is about a socialist, anti-family political movement that encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism, and become lesbians." (1992 fundraising letter)
  • "I think "one man, one vote," just unrestricted democracy, would not be wise. There needs to be some kind of protection for the minority which the white people represent now, a minority, and they need and have a right to demand a protection of their rights." (700 Club March 18, 1992)
  • He took credit for steering the course in 1985 of Hurricane Gloria, which caused billions of dollars of destruction in many states along the U.S. east coast. He made a similar claim about another destructive storm, Hurricane Felix, in 1995.
Is it not obvious that this guy is off his rocker?

Actually, by making many of his failed predictions in God's name, he fits the biblical qualification for a false prophet:
  • Deuteronomy 18:20-22: "But the prophet who presumes to say in my name a thing I have not commanded him to say, or who speaks in the name of other gods, that prophet shall die. You may say in your heart, 'How are we to know what word was not spoken by Yahweh?' When a prophet speaks in the name of Yahweh and the thing does not happen and the word is not fulfilled, then it has not been spoken by Yahweh. The prophet has spoken with presumption. You have nothing to fear from him."

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Art Served Up

Watch that railing

Dad, the boys at the club are tired of you winning every match, and have installed a new court for your exclusive use - you get the right side.

Art by Laurent Perbos (via VVORK)


Asheville Market

Asheville, North Carolina came in number ONE in Home Magazine's List of America's Best Eco-Neighborhoods.
Suuh-weet! That's right in the heart of the South and the Bible Belt - whooda thunk that progressive living could grow in those environs? There is hope for the country.

That's also where my sweet sister lives! Girl, go ride that bike lane to the farmer's market and get 'chu some organic veggies to celebrate.

Amazingly, there is no mention of Portland on the list at all. Looking at their criteria and their comments about each of the winners, I'm having a hard time finding anything that Portland doesn't have - in spades. Harrumph.


Additional thought: Could this all be Greg & Kelly's doing...?

Saturday, January 06, 2007


I just received the best news of the year.
(Yeah, so there has only been 6 days of it, but this is a contender for the remaining 359.)

Jason & Jen & Francis & Lisa are coming to visit!

They are coming at the end of February to take in Sydney & surrounds, the Great Barrier Reef, possibly Uluru, and also the south island of New Zealand - all in an ambitious 3 weeks. Personally I think they should just go ahead and make it 2 months.

Moon O House

Also, Forest sent me this interesting article on the political situation in the Maldives - apparently there's a little unrest over President Gayoom and cronies profiteering at the expense of the citizens. (Sound familiar?) It is the richest country in SE Asia (by per-capita GDP) but a very large number of the citizens live in very poor circumstances. Link-fu.

diver down
(complete with mask marks still on face)

And speaking of "...dives", I had a couple of nice scuba dives this morning at the North Head. Among the usual schools of fish, I saw lots of Nudibranchs, a puffer fish that was at least 2 feet long, a 2 1/2 foot lobster-like creature that the Aussies call a "crayfish", and a 5 foot Angel Shark.

slender haus

Speaking of places that are not dives, here is a little building that is a favorite of mine.
It is a remodel/addition to a nice old electrical substation. While its detailing could be resolved a bit better, it certainly makes the most out of a tiny little site by going vert. Note the lil' cafe that serves directly out the side of the building - no indoor public space. The units above, though small studios, must be pretty sweet with windows on 4 sides.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Urban Gnomes

Hearts Gnome

A modernist gnome for you Urban dwellers.
Kinda miss the red hats, but then city dwellers always have had their own fashion sense.

Zipper Gnome

More variations and other cool products here at Vitamin.

Radium Girls

File this one under "Corporate Malfeasance" (in the worst way).

Here is a fascinating and horrific story about the radiation poisoning suffered by the employees of US Radium. The early glow-in-the-dark watch dials were in fact radioactive, and the women who painted those dials paid a heavy price.

While it is terrible that this happened at all, what is truly horrific is how the company tried to cover up the problem, fake medical results, modify safety reports, ruin the reputations of the sick women, and continued to poison their employees even after it was brought to their attention.

It is these kind of stories - and there are far too many of them (examples: James Hardie asbestos, Monsanto, Enron, Pfizer, etc.) - that prove to me that greed knows no bounds and that health, safety, and welfare of people (employees and/or general public) often takes a back seat to profit. Despite some of my Libertarian leanings I am convinced that responsible "self-regulating" corporations are as rare as honest used-car salesmen. For some reason people are willing to contribute to, or defend, deeds performed by a corporate avatar that they would never accept from an individual.

Link again.


Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Chickens with Teeth and other Old Year Revelations

Here are a couple "2006 summary" articles I came across that are pretty good:

Top 10 Green Stories of 2006
  • And Oregonians have a serious case of buyer's remorse, lamenting the erosion of some of the nation's most progressive land-use policies.
  • More Republicans like this, please.
  • Hi. My name is the United States of America, and I'm an addict.
  • Despite the braying of dinosaur corporations and think-tank nitwits to the contrary, going green is not a drag on the economy. It's the 21st century's biggest moneymaker.
  • In April, support for the cause of fighting global warming came from a surprising source: conservative evangelical Christians.

What we learned in 2006.
  • Cheese consumption in the United States is expected to grow by 50 percent between now and 2013.
  • The U.S. government has paid about $1.5 billion in benefits to thousands of sick nuclear-weapons workers since 2001.
  • Just 30 minutes of continuous kissing can diminish the body's allergic reaction to pollen, relaxing the body and reducing production of histamine, a chemical cell given out in response to allergens.
  • Sleeping in on Saturday and Sunday can disturb your body clock, leaving you fatigued at the start of the week. (uh oh...)
  • Researchers from the University of Manchester managed to induce teeth growth in normal chickens - activating genes that have lain dormant for 80 million years.

Wollongong View

This is the view I enjoyed as I spoke to my family on the phone Christmas Morning.


Industrial factories look better than the music sounds

Industrial Composition

Oskar Achieves Enlightenment

Oskar Pagoda

Unknown to me, Oskar has been training with the Shaolin monks. Not only has he achieved enlightenment, but he has gained other useful skills such as the ability to bend spears on his neck, tow train cars with his teeth, and lay down without turning in circles.

Here is his master, who is so enlightened as to stand here all day and night without moving. Advanced enlightenment sure looks boring.

Stone Buddah

Monday, January 01, 2007

Happy New Year 2007!

Sydney NYE 2006-7

This picture is from last year. Updated to show this year.
(Picture from SMH)

I just rolled in from this year's similar scenic bridge explosion, and wow what a fireworks show and wow what a mass of humanity that turns out for it. The crowd-control barrier industry is cashing in on these sorts of events. It took some doing, but I managed a great spot for the full ooo-aah experience.

This year was the 75th anniversary of the bridge, so they apparently tried even harder to blow the bridge up colorfully.

I happened to be coming across the bridge in a train when the 9pm "childrens" fireworks went off. This is also quite a large fireworks display by most standards - 4 fireworks barges on each side of the bridge. The train stopped in the middle of the bridge, and color exploded on all sides of us. Great timing! Best seat in the house.

Those of you still in 2006 should know that so far, 3 hours into it, 2007 is just great!

...and may your New Year's have fewer sloppy drunken singing Pommies.