Snowflakes

You may have noticed a slightly longer lull between posts that you have been accustomed to, but hopefully you will forgive me when I say that the arrival of a new baby in our house has (happily) consumed all of my time lately.

But with Christmas around the corner what better time to get back in the swing of things, and with a suitably wintry post about snowflakes at that.

The precise shape and formation of a snowflake is, amongst other variables, a combination of temperature, humidity, and amount of water, with each coalescing to give a unique outcome (ok, it is theoretically possible to have identical snowflakes, but it is so extremely unlikely I am going to disregard it).

I’ve never seen the developing formation of a snowflake, but Snowtime by Vyacheslav Ivanov gives us a glimpse at the complexity in this mesmerisingly beautiful time lapse video.

I recommend viewing full screen if you can.

More of Vyacheslav’s film work can be viewed here.

 

 

Miito

We all need to start making a conscious effort to save energy and on the whole looking after our planet.  I try not to waste energy, but I know I could probably do better.

As an example, kettles consume as much energy to boil a litre of water as it takes to run your fridge for about 7 hours.  Us Brits are notorious tea and coffee drinkers, using a kettle on average over four times a day.  Given this vast energy consumption it would make sense to be as efficient as possible, wouldn’t it?

So, why don’t we measure the water out and only boil the amount we need each time.  Makes sense, but easier said than done.

Typically you  base the amount of water on those markings along the side for how many “cups” you are making.  However, most people don’t drink a “cup”, they have a mug.  Or in our office they tend to use jumbo mugs.

Our kettle at work goes a step further and has a RGB LED indicator that stays red if the water is still hot enough so people aren’t unnecessarily (re)boiling already hot water each time, but, despite best efforts, you still always overfill it.  This results in you waiting longer for it to boil and it uses more energy.  Bad for you, bad for the environment.

Wouldn’t it be handy (and better for the environment) if you could boil the exact amount of water you needed.  Not almost the right amount, not close to the right amount, but exactly the right amount every time.

Introducing Miito.

Miito is the product of designer duo Nils Chudy and Jasmina Grase, and, simply put, is a rod and a base.  The induction base heats the rod, which then heats the liquid surrounding it.  Perfect.

Miito1

Once the liquid has boiled, the rod signals the base to go on standby. When the rod is fully placed on the base without being immersed in anything, the device shuts off.

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It can heat a pot of tea for when you have guests, warm the milk for your coffee, or heat your soup to less scalding temperature than your microwave manages.

Lovely stuff.  More information on the website here.

1970s Lego Instructions

You only need to take a short glimpse back through this blog to know I am a huge fan of Lego.

I had some of the great sets when I was younger such as the castle (aka King’s Mountain Fortress) with glow in the dark ghost, any number of the pirate series (namely Lagoon Lock-Up), and, I think, the Town Airport to name a few.

These were brilliant, but some of best Lego fun I had was pulling out the overflowing plastic crate of assorted Lego bricks and mismatched sets from under my bed and just building and playing whatever I wanted.  In line with this way of thinking, Reddit user fryd_ recently posted this gem from a Lego set in 1973.

Lego note

Looks like they had the right idea all along!

There has been some debate as to the authenticity of the note, but I’m inclined to side with this argument on i09.com that says it is genuine.  Happy building!

Satiregram

If you aren’t familiar with Instagram this post might not make a whole of sense (also, where have you been?).  But if you are aware of the filter-applying, image-tweaking, photo-sharing site then this will probably seem all too recognisable.

I use Instagram and I think it is great.  Some of my photos are better than others, some are drunkenly blurry, and some are woefully cliché.  But so what, that’s part of why I use Instagram.

I generally try and steer clear of littering my comments with (often inaccurate) hashtags and gorging them with (somewhat unnecessary) emojis, but every now and then some do sneak in.  And I unashamedly love it.

Recently  I discovered Satiregram and it’s hilarious.  It represents everything good, bad, and in between about Instagram in a witty and satirical account without really posting a photo of, well, anything bar a hand written post-it note.

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With wonderful simplicity it covers the full spectrum of users.  From those who take beautiful photos, to those who take photos to share with friends, through to those who document every outfit, meal, and action in their life with the sole aim of gaining likes.

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The epitome of a typical Instagram user 

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Admittedly I’m guilty of quite of few of these myself, but that’s part of the relatable charm this account has!

Follow Satiregram here and if that isn’t enough you can follow them on Twitter with their equally amusing account @SoPretentious.

Remembrance Sunday

For me, Remembrance Sunday means taking a two minute silence at 11am in memory of those who have been affected in the conflict of war.  The tribute started in 1919, a year on from the official end of the First World War on the eleventh hour on the eleventh day on the eleventh month in 1918 – Armistice Day.

Tower Poppies

Marking 100 years since the start of World War I there has been more coverage this year than in previous years with the poppy installation at the Tower of London.

Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red features 888,246 ceramic poppies planted in the moat at the Tower of London, each one representing a British military fatality during the war.

I went to see it a couple of months ago, and it is stunning.  Beautifully poignant and a fitting tribute.

Not to detract from the typical annual donations to The Royal British Legion, I opted this year for something slightly different.  A poppy with a twist.  And what better twist than Lego!

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As part of a limited collection of 100, each Lego poppy was hand created by Justin Ramsden with all proceeds split between The Royal British Legion and Help For Heroes.

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The collection was designed and built in memory of Thomas Henry Hodgson, and “all those who not only fought in the First World War, but every state of conflict ever since”.

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The poppy arrived carefully boxed and wrapped in a lovely brick graphic printed paper which, in true Lego fashion, shows the pieces that comprise it.

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You can see more of Justin’s work here.

Isn’t It Ironic?

I’ve had such a positive response to my previous TED-Ed post that I’m going to use another set of their resources with something I stumbled onto recently.  This time on irony.

When most people think of irony typically one thing comes to mind.  Alanis Morissette and her 1995 hit Ironic.

But is “ten thousand spoons when all you need is a knife”, or “rain on your wedding day” actually ironic?  No.  Unnecessary or unfortunate perhaps, but definitely not ironic.

A lot of people struggle with identifying or using irony correctly, myself included, but here are some great examples of the three most common types of irony.

Situational
The easiest to understand is situational irony.  In this case, something is ironic if, and only if, it is the exact opposite of what you would expect.

Dramatic
You’re watching a film and you, as the audience, know something that one of the characters doesn’t.  You watch the character do something typically stupid, or, more broadly put, something not in their best interest (think unarmed teenager going to investigate a mysterious noise in the basement without a torch).  This technique is dramatic irony.

Verbal
Verbal irony tends to fill in the somewhat blurry area between sarcasm and compliments.  But they can also overlap in some sort of weird grammatical Venn diagram.

Consider saying “that shirt looks nice” to someone.  Situation dependent of course, but it could be said as a compliment or more sarcastically as a cruel joke.  It is the type of irony most used, both correctly and incorrectly, and is generally applicable when you discover the true meaning behind what someone is saying.  I’ll let this final video explain.

I hope that clarifies the notion of irony for you, at least a bit more anyway.  I’ll be sending a link to this post over to Alanis tomorrow!

The Art Of Form

At first glance I thought this was a cool projection mapping scheme on a Ferrari California T, but once I looked into it I realised they actually did it for real, which makes it even cooler!

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The California T is a stunningly beautiful car (in Rosso Corsa please, if you’re offering), and the form and styling was really put through its paces by the artist Fabian Oefner who travelled to Ferrari HQ in Maranello in order to interpret the car “as an art form through his own eyes”.

The concept was fairly simple, once a specific piping sytem had been developed that is.  Inside a 150mph wind tunnel luminescent paints are thrown over the body of the car and blasted with UV spot lights to bring phosphorescent life to the colours.

As the main lights dim and the UV paint glows, the physical lines of the solid car recede and you are left with the overall form and shape created by the paint, a wonderful organic collection of streaking paint.

The result is “an exploration of the essence of the California T”, encapsulating “the pillars of purposeful design and perpetual innovation that are constants in the creation of all of Ferraris”.

No, I’m not entirely sure what all of that means either.  It looks incredible though!

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There is an unseen relationship between an artist, a subject and the canvas. This unspoken alliance and understanding of the subject can only be brought to light when revealed in its proper context.

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It’s the artist, the subject, and the canvas all at once

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For a bit more insight into what went into the project then take a look at the video below.

If that paint job isn’t quite your thing then head over to the Ferrari Configurator to design your own – I’ve just spent a fair bit of time doing exactly that!

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Via Fubiz.


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