A flock of planes taking off, by Ho-Yeol Ryu. Peculiar image of the week.
A flock of planes taking off, by Ho-Yeol Ryu. Peculiar image of the week.
The protozoa Toxoplasma gondii makes an unobtrusive home in nearly every warm-blooded species, but it’s prolific life is limited: Toxo can only reproduce in cat stomachs. The parasite, which causes mild to nonexistant flu-like symptoms, has a clever trick to make sure it winds up where it wants to be. Toxo-infected rats are completely healthy but abnormally attracted to cat urine, and more active than normal. A more outgoing, less fearful rat makes an easy snack for a cat. So far, so good for the parasite’s survival strategy, but there’s a catch for us. Toxoplasma messes with human brain chemistry in much the same way as it does with rodents.
Finally… A gas station in the ocean! If we all rigorously continue filling up our tanks, this fiction can become a reality one day.
Sometimes next nature breaks down and things fall back on an older nature. Luckily, this guy still had a horse around. Peculiar image of the week.
The Quest for Fire (1981) shows the Next Nature of 80.000 BC. Set in a world without highways, supermarkets, airports, Internet, television, farming, money or written language, the film depicts a group of Neanderthalers who are able to control fire, but cannot create it. Similar to our habit of carrying a mobile phone, these Neanderthalers consequentially wonder around with a mobile fire.
When one day their fire is tragically smothered, the three bravest men leave the tribe and set out in a quest for fire. Throughout their journey they meet with various other humanoid species, of which the most outlandish is undoubtedly the Homo Sapiens, who impress not by their size or posture but even more by their ability to domesticate their surroundings through the use of tools and technique.
While the Neanderthaler men are accustomed to a life in caves, the geeky Homo Sapiens amazes them with technological gadgets like pottery, an artificial cave created from animal skins, advanced weaponry and, most of all, their astonishing ability to create fire – which in its time was at least equally if not more impressive than any nano-, bio-, or digital technology of today.
The Quest of Fire is a honest attempt to look at the origins of the species and the development of humanity through loss, tragedy, hardship, hostile elements and the beginnings of laughter, morality, community service, leadership, friendship and of course, love. A wondrous feat of body language performances as there is no truly discernible spoken dialogue.
The film can be thought of as the first five minutes of Space Odyssey 2001 (1968) stretched up to a feature film length. Director Jean-Jacques Annaud manages to capture the essence of the human condition as ‘natural born cultural beings’. Which deepens our understanding of the ever-changing relation nature and makes us see some of the contemporary technological ‘upgrades’ in a different light.
Passed: 2001: a Space Odyssey (1968), The Gods must be Crazy (1980), Surplus – Terrorized into Being Consumers (2003).
While driving on the highway, I saw a tree. Our peculiar image of the week was spotted by Arnoud van den Heuvel using the Next Nature Spotter iPhone app.
The Drive in Wheel is an unique and spectacular giant wheel made especially for cars. The wheel is 100 feet high and takes four cars on one trip. City sightseeing has never been easier: you drive into the city center, into the wheel, view the city from above and drive out again – without ever leaving your car.
What do you get when you combine bike parts, an electric motor, and a cow skeleton? Our peculiar object of the week was created by artist Billie Grace Lynn.
Cinematographer Luke Geissbühler made a homemade spacecraft with his 5-year-old son Max, and some of Luke’s friends. The spacecraft was made from a Thai food takeout container, an HD video camera and an iPhone for GPS tracking. They launched it into the upper stratosphere using a weather balloon. This most incredible ‘homevideo’ of the project soon went viral with millions of views.
The Brooklyn Space Program is a organization formed by a group of friends in New York City interested in scientific experiments, engineering, design and education. Visit them at brooklynspaceprogram.org to get the entire uncut voyage, buy a T-shirt and support the team.
No birds or airliners where hurt in the making of our peculiar image of the week. The perceived mingling of the birds and the airplane is in fact an optical effect, masking the distance between them and resulting in a dreamlike image of birds and airplanes living in harmony. If only…
Photo by Darryl Morrell, via Airliners.net
This extraordinary concept model that came out of the batcave of BMW shows how textile might be the future of car design. By replacing metal bodywork with a strong but flexible skin the Beamer they call GINA can transform on the spot to suit your mood. Things like opening the bonnet or adjusting your headlights suddenly become something fluid and natural.
For the future it holds the promise that a car will adapt to you and your current needs. Do you have a party and need a sleek saloon or did you just do your groceries and need some more room in the trunk? With a flexible skin this is all possible within one vehicle.
In the older days, people had to cross natural barriers like mountains for survival purposes. Grains from one side of the mountain was traded with cloth from the other side, for example. Today, we trade images and visual information overload has taken the place of the the mountain.
One can imagine this trading trips our ancestors made could be tough endeavors. Dangerous slopes and treacherous wheather conditions can take their toll, up in the mountains. Not to speak of the physical challenge of to climbing a mountain, packed with trading goods. New technologies like tunnels, cars and helicopters made it possible to skip the long climbs that take a strain on your body and mountain climbing as a bare necessity died out, to make place for mountain climbing as a recreational activity.
Justin Shull investigates the born and the made by mixing them up in mobile installations like the “Terrestrial Shrub Rover” and the “Porta Hedge”. His designs consist of several eco-conscious design features including recycled Christmas trees on the exterior, wood finishing on the interior, and the relaxing sound of birdsong audio on the interior and exterior. These vehicles are made to observe and explore both terrestrial and social environments.
On this day (Saturday May 29th 2010), the Dutch nation takes pride in celebrating their first real traffic jam. During the pentecost weekend in 1955, a mass exodus of a tribe of day visitors from the west of the country to the central dutch National Park, and a tribe of German tourists coming from the east, caused a clutter of over 50,000 cars. Next to excitement about this new phenomena, there was also a feeling of pride: The Netherlands had become a modern country.
Back in 1955, The Netherlands counted about 268,000 cars (1 car per 40,3 inhabitants). Today, that is 1 car for every 2.1 dutchman or -woman. The first real traffic jam in 1955 was a big attraction. Roadside tourism was very common in those days: park the car at the side of the road, or even: in the lane (which was allowed then), unfold your chair and watch the cars pass by with the whole family: the tourists become the tourist attraction.
Different lifestyles of different tribes have always fascinating. New technologies trigger ancient impulses and one of these impulses is: watching new technologies as a form of recreation!
(Adaptation of this article in the dutch Volkskrant)
A reflection on mobility by NL Architects
Peculiar image of the week. Via Radarvirtuel, where you can see them fly in real time.
Why do we grow attached to things? Patricia Piccinini captured it well in this peculiar work: The Stags – 2008 (Culture becomes nature)