Archive for December, 2010

December 22, 2010

Haptics

haptic

novint falcon

Haptic technology, or haptics [hap-tiks], is a tactile feedback technology that takes advantage of a user’s sense of touch by applying forces, vibrations, and/or motions. This mechanical stimulation aids in the creation and control of virtual objects, and enhances the remote control of machines and devices by teleoperators, such as remote surgeons and military drone pilots. The word haptic, from the Greek (haptikos), means pertaining to the sense of touch.

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December 20, 2010

Love

Love is a sculpture by American artist Robert Indiana. It consists of the letters LO (with the O canted sideways) over the letters VE. The image was originally designed as a Christmas card for the Museum of Modern Art in 1964, and first exhibited as a sculpture in New York City in 1970. This original sculpture is made of weathering steel and has been on exhibit at the Indianapolis Museum of Art since 1975.

The LOVE design has been reproduced in a variety of formats. Likewise, the sculpture has been recreated in multiple versions and a variety of colors, and is now on display around the world. While it was first made in English, versions of the sculpture exist in Hebrew, Chinese, Italian and Spanish. The LOVE emblem has been adopted by skateboarders and frequently appears in skateboard magazines and videos. After skateboarding was banned in Philadelphia’s LOVE Park, the emblem was used by organizations opposing the ban.

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December 20, 2010

V Sign

The V sign is a hand gesture in which the first and second fingers are raised and parted, whilst the thumb and remaining fingers are clenched. With palm inwards, in the United Kingdom and some other English speaking countries, it is an obscene insulting gesture of defiance. During World War II, Winston Churchill popularized its use as a ‘Victory’ sign (for V as in victory) initially with palm inwards and, later in the war, palm outwards.

In the United States, with the palm outwards, and more recently inward, it is also used to mean ‘Peace,’ a meaning that became popular during the peace movement of the 1960s. In East Asia the gesture is commonly used with the palm outward, connoting positive meaning. According to a popular legend the two-fingers salute derives from the gestures of longbowmen fighting in the English army at the Battle of Agincourt (1415) during the Hundred Years’ War. The French claimed that they would cut off the arrow-shooting fingers of all the English and Welsh longbowmen after they had won the battle at Agincourt. But the English came out victorious and showed off their two fingers, still intact.

December 20, 2010

Victor Vasarely

Vasarely

Victor Vasarely (1906 – 1997) was a Hungarian French artist whose work is generally seen aligned with Op-art. His work entitled Zebra, created by in the 1930s, is considered by some to be one of the earliest examples of Op-art.

He was born in a town outside of Budapest, but settled in Paris in 1930, where he went on to produce art and sculpture mainly focused around the area of optical illusion. Over the next three decades, Vasarely developed his style of geometric abstract art, working in various materials but using a minimal number of forms and colors.

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December 20, 2010

Hammer and Sickle

hammer and sickle

The hammer and sickle is a part of communist symbolism and its usage indicates an association with Communism, a Communist party, or a Communist state. It features a hammer and a sickle overlapping each other. The two tools are symbols of the industrial proletariat and the peasantry; placing them together symbolizes the unity between industrial and agricultural workers. This emblem was conceived during the Bolshevik Revolution. It is best known from having been incorporated into the red flag of the Soviet Union, along with the Red Star.

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December 20, 2010

Metropolis

Maschinenmensch

Metropolis is a 1927 German expressionist film in the science-fiction genre directed by Fritz Lang. Produced in Germany during a stable period of the Weimar Republic, ‘Metropolis’ is set in a futuristic urban dystopia and makes use of this context to explore the social crisis between workers and owners in capitalism. The most expensive silent film ever made, it cost approximately 5 million Reichsmark. The film was written by Lang and his wife Thea von Harbou in 1924, and published a novelization in 1926. Lang was influenced by the Soviet science fiction film ‘Aelita’ by Yakov Protazanov (1924), which was an adaptation of a novel by Alexei Tolstoy. The plot of ‘Aelita’ included a revolution taking place on the planet Mars. However, Metropolis advocates non-violent cooperation rather than the Marxist ideal of ‘class struggle.’

‘Metropolis’ was cut substantially after its German premiere, and much footage was lost over the passage of successive decades. There have been several efforts to restore it, as well as discoveries of previously lost footage. In 2008, a copy of the film 30 minutes longer than any other known surviving was located in Argentina. After a long period of restoration in Germany, the film was shown publicly for the first time simultaneously at Berlin and Frankfurt on February 12, 2010.

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December 20, 2010

Movement

movement

In horology, a movement is the internal mechanism of a clock or watch, as opposed to the case, which encloses and protects the movement, and the face which displays the time. The term originated with mechanical timepieces, whose movements are made of many moving parts. It is less frequently applied to modern electronic or quartz timepieces, where the word module is often used instead.

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December 19, 2010

Paprika

Paprika is a 2006 Japanese animated science fiction film, based on Yasutaka Tsutsui’s 1993 novel of the same name, about a research psychologist who uses a device that permits therapists to help patients by entering their dreams. The film was directed by the late Satoshi Kon, animated by Madhouse Studios, and produced and distributed by Sony Pictures Entertainment. The film’s music was composed by Susumu Hirasawa, who also composed the soundtrack for Kon’s award-winning film, Millennium Actress, and equally lauded television series, Paranoia Agent. The soundtrack is significant for being the first film to use a Vocaloid (a singing synthesizer) for various tracks.

The protagonist of the film is, Atsuko, a psychiatrist who uses advanced technology to study the human mind. She has developed a machine that will allow her to enter the dreams of her patients and study their psyches from the inside. Atsuko also does double duty as Paprika, a high-tech detective who uses this new innovation to find out the truth about what the people she’s trailing really think. However, Atsuko falls victim to a thief who steals the one-of-a-kind machine, and Paprika sets out to find it as a wave of psychological instability tears through the city.

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December 19, 2010

View of the World from 9th Avenue

The New Yorker cover (March 29, 1976) ‘View of the World from 9th Avenue,’ has come to represent Manhattan’s telescoped interpretation of the country beyond the Hudson River. The cartoon showed the supposedly limited mental geography of Manhattanites. The image shows Manhattan’s 9th Avenue, 10th Avenue, and the Hudson River (appropriately labeled), while the top half depicts the rest of the world. The rest of the United States is drawn as a square, with a thin brown strip along the Hudson representing New Jersey, the names of five cities (Los Angeles, Washington D.C., Las Vegas, Kansas City, and Chicago) and three states (Texas, Utah, and Nebraska) are scattered among a few rocks for the U.S. beyond New Jersey.

The Pacific Ocean, perhaps twice as wide again as the Hudson, separates the U.S. from three flattened land masses labeled China, Japan, and Russia. The illustration, depicting New Yorkers’ self-image, inspired many similar works, including the poster for the 1984 film Moscow on the Hudson; that movie poster led to a lawsuit, Steinberg v. Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc., 663 F. Supp. 706 (S.D.N.Y. 1987), which held that Columbia Pictures violated the copyright that Steinberg held on his work. Another homage was created for the cover of The Economist newspaper’s March 21–27, 2009 issue entitled ‘How China sees the world.’

December 19, 2010

Calavera

c3p0 by rich hemsley

The word calavera, Spanish for ‘skull,’ can refer to a number of cultural phenomena associated with the Mexican celebration of the Day of the Dead and the Roman Catholic holiday All Souls Day. Calaveras de azúcar (‘sugar skulls’) are used to adorn altars and can be eaten. Calaveras are poems, written for the Day of the Dead but intended to humorously criticize the living. Calavera can refer to any artistic representations of skulls, such as the lithographs of José Guadalupe Posada.

December 19, 2010

Shock Diamond

shock diamond

Shock diamonds (also known as Mach diamonds, Mach disks or dancing diamonds) are a formation of stationary wave patterns that appears in the exhaust plume of an aerospace propulsion system, such as a supersonic jet engine, rocket, ramjet, or scramjet when it is operated in an atmosphere.

Shock diamonds are formed when the supersonic exhaust from a nozzle is slightly over or under-expanded, meaning that the pressure of the gases exiting the nozzle is different from the ambient air pressure. A complex flow field results as the shock wave is reflected back and forth between the free fluid jet boundary and a visible repeating diamond-shaped pattern is formed which gives the shock diamonds their name.

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December 19, 2010

Sonic Boom

sonic boom

sonic boom

A sonic boom is created when an object travels faster than the speed of sound. When an airplane reaches the speed of sound, it makes such an explosive noise it can be seen with the naked eye. The visible part of a sonic boom is actually air that becomes compressed by sound waves. The thunder that a storm makes is also a sonic boom caused by lightning forcing air to move faster than the speed of sound.

The first plane to travel at the speed of sound was the Bell X-1 in 1947 and was piloted by Chuck Yeager. The cracking sound a bullwhip makes when properly wielded is, in fact, a small sonic boom. A bullwhip tapers down from the handle section to the cracker. The end of the whip, called the cracker, has much less mass than the handle section. When the whip is sharply swung, the energy is transferred down the length of the tapering whip.

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