Archive for March 2nd, 2011

March 2, 2011

Richard Avedon

avedon george harrison

Richard Avedon [av-i-don] (1923 – 2004) was an American photographer born in New York City to a Jewish-Russian family. In 1946, Avedon had set up his own studio and began providing images for magazines including Vogue and Life. He soon became the chief photographer for Harper’s Bazaar.

Avedon did not conform to the standard technique of taking fashion photographs, where models stood emotionless and seemingly indifferent to the camera. Instead, he showed models full of emotion, smiling, laughing, and, many times, in action.

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March 2, 2011

Rendezvous with Rama

rama simp

Rendezvous with Rama is a novel by Arthur C. Clarke first published in 1972. Set in the 22nd century, the story involves a fifty-kilometre-long cylindrical alien starship that enters Earth’s solar system. The story is told from the point of view of a group of human explorers, who intercept the ship in an attempt to unlock its mysteries. It is considered a science fiction classic, and is particularly seen as a key hard science fiction text.

The ‘Rama’ of the title is the alien star ship, initially mistaken for an asteroid and named after the king Rama who is considered to be the seventh avatar of the Hindu god Vishnu (Clarke mentions that by the 22nd century, scientists have used the names of all the Greek and Roman mythological figures to name astronomical bodies, and have thus moved on to Hindu mythology).

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March 2, 2011

Magic Roundabout

The Magic Roundabout in Swindon, England was constructed in 1972 and consists of five mini-roundabouts arranged in a circle. Its name comes from the popular children’s television series The Magic Roundabout (a children’s television program created in France in 1963). Traffic flow around the smaller, inner roundabout is anti-clockwise, and traffic flows in the usual clockwise manner around the five mini-roundabouts and the outer loop. Local and regular users are proficient at traversing the complex junction, which offers multiple paths between feeder roads. Virtually the same overall configuration has been in place for over 30 years.

In 2005, it was voted the worst roundabout in a survey by a UK insurance company. However the roundabout provides a better throughput of traffic than other designs and has an excellent safety record, since traffic moves too slowly to do serious damage in the event of a collision.

March 2, 2011



In computer graphics, pixelation is an effect caused by displaying a digital image at such a large size that individual pixels, small single-colored square display elements that comprise the bitmap, are visible to the eye. Such an image is said to be pixelated. Early graphical applications such as video games ran at very low resolutions with a small number of colors, and so had easily visible pixels. The resulting sharp edges gave curved objects and diagonal lines an unnatural appearance.

However, when the number of available colors increased to 256, it was possible to gainfully employ antialiasing to smooth the appearance of low-resolution objects, not eliminating pixelation but making it less jarring to the eye. Higher resolutions would soon make this type of pixelation all but invisible on the screen, but pixelation is still visible if a low-resolution image is printed on paper.

March 2, 2011

News Corporation

rupert murdoch

News Corporation is the world’s third-largest media conglomerate (behind The Walt Disney Company and Time Warner). The company’s Chairman & Chief Executive Officer is Rupert Murdoch. News Corp was created in 1979 by Murdoch as a holding company for News Limited (which he inherited in 1952 following the death of his father, Sir Keith Murdoch). The main asset left to him was ownership of the Adelaide afternoon tabloid, The News.

News Ltd. made its first acquisition in the United States in 1973, when it purchased the San Antonio Express-News. Soon afterwards it founded the National Star, a supermarket tabloid, and in 1976 it purchased the New York Post. In 1981 News Corp bought half of the movie studio 20th Century Fox, buying the other half in 1984. In 1996, Fox established the Fox News Channel, a 24-hour cable news station to compete against Ted Turner’s rival channel CNN. In 2007 News Corporation reached an agreement to purchase Dow Jones, publishers of The Wall Street Journal, for an estimated $5.6 billion.

March 2, 2011



Pleo is an animatronic dinosaur toy designed to emulate the appearance and behavior of a week-old baby Camarasaurus. It was designed by Caleb Chung, the co-creator of the Furby.

Chung selected this species of dinosaur because its body shape, stocky head, and relatively large cranium made it ideal for concealing the sensors and motors needed for lifelike animation. Each Pleo ‘learns’ from its experiences and environment through a sophisticated artificial intelligence and develops an individual personality.

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March 2, 2011


Iridology is a pseudoscience whose proponents believe that patterns, colors, and other characteristics of the iris can be examined to determine information about a patient’s systemic health. Practitioners match their observations to iris charts, which divide the iris into zones that correspond to specific parts of the human body.

March 2, 2011

Marvel vs. Capcom

marvel vs capcom

Marvel vs. Capcom is a series of fighting games created by Capcom in which characters created by Marvel Comics and Capcom’s own characters appear together. While it was the first Vs. series involving Capcom, the Marvel brand exists to distinguish it from Capcom’s other Vs. series with SNK (Capcom vs. SNK), and Tatsunoko Production (Tatsunoko vs. Capcom: Ultimate All-Stars).

The Marvel characters depicted in these games were often based on their incarnations in various 1990s animated series (particularly X-Men), and were often voiced by the same voice actors.

March 2, 2011

Ikko Tanaka

nihon buyo

Ikko Tanaka (1930 – 2002) a Japanese graphic designer. The characteristic of his designs is a blending of deeply rooted Japanese traditions with western modernism to produce contemporary visual expression.

March 2, 2011

Piet Mondrian

Piet [peetMondrian [mawn-dree-ahn] (1872 – 1944), was a Dutch painter, and an important contributor to the De Stijl art movement (Dutch for ‘The Style,’ which advocated pure abstraction and universality by a reduction to the essentials of form and color; they simplified visual compositions to the vertical and horizontal directions, and used only primary colors along with black and white).

He evolved a non-representational form which he termed Neo-Plasticism. This consisted of white ground, upon which was painted a grid of vertical and horizontal black lines and the three primary colors.

March 2, 2011

Mark Rothko

red yellow blue

Mark Rothko (1903 – 1970) was a Latvian-born American painter. He is classified as an abstract expressionist, although he rejected the label, and even resisted classification as an ‘abstract painter.’ 1946 saw the creation of Rothko’s transitional ‘multiform’ paintings. He gradually transitioned from surrealistic, myth-influenced works of the early part of the decade to the highly abstract, Clyfford Still-influenced forms of pure color. For Rothko, these blurred blocks of various colors, devoid of landscape or human figure, let alone myth and symbol, possessed their own life force. They contained a ‘breath of life’ he found lacking in most figurative painting of the era.

He started with the application of a thin layer of binder mixed with pigment directly onto uncoated and untreated canvas on which he painted significantly thinned oils, creating a dense mixture of overlapping colors and shapes. His brush strokes were fast and light. Rothko used several original techniques that he tried to keep secret even from his assistants. Electron microscopy and ultraviolet analysis showed that he employed natural substances such as egg and glue, as well as artificial materials including acrylic resins, phenol formaldehyde, and modified alkyd. One of his objectives was to make the various layers of the painting dry quickly, without mixing of colors, such that he could soon create new layers on top of the earlier ones.