Eight ordinary Kiwis were asked what lights them up.
Here's the novel, creative ad that resulted, promoting the rebranding of Telecom NZ. The music is a new arrangement of the gospel classic "This Little Light of Mine", recorded in New Zealand by Peter Van Der Fluit.
Back in around 210BC, Qin Shi Huang (1st Emperor of China) commissioned the Terracotta Army (traditional Chinese: 兵馬俑; simplified Chinese: 兵马俑; pinyin: bīngmǎ yǒng; literally "soldier and horse funerary statues"), for his mausoleum. Discovered in 1974 by some local farmers near Xi'an, Shaanxi province, China, it is thought to comprise over 8,000 soldiers, 130 chariots with 520 horses and 150 cavalry horses, the majority of which are still buried in the pits.
World renowned, this unique creation continues to intrigue and inspire...
It remains a common and popular Kiwi artform, commercial product and hobby, with wood and bone carving being the most ubiquitous, also precious stones such as pounamu (greenstone) and/or shells such as paua (abalone).
Whilst there are many examples (such as those shown opposite) of what could be called traditional Māori styling, every carver of course offers their own unique characteristics, perspective, contribution, interpretation and style.
A distant, modern echo of Qin Shi Huang's vision, what a wonder it would be to see a contemporary army of unique, carved Māori warriors...
Add to the mix a good Māori legend (there may be a better, more appropriate subject, dependent upon the host locale chosen).
In Māori mythology, Whakatau (or Whakatau-pōtiki) is a son of Tūwhakararo and Apakura. In one story, Tūwhakararo is murdered by the men of the Ati Hapai tribe and Whakatau sets out on a quest to rescue the bones of his father and to avenge his death.
He assembles an army, and prepares his war canoes (or waka) Whiritoa, Tapatapa-hukarere, Hakirere, Toroa-i-taipakihi, Mahunu-awatea and others.
The expedition sets off and Whakatau, with his best men, besieges a great house called Te Uru-o-Manono where the enemy are gathered. The house is burned and the people of Ati Hapai are wiped out.
So here's the idea:
Obtain a diverse collection of Māori warrior carvings ("Whakatau's Army"), distinct yet comparable to the Terracotta Army.
By way of a competition, with prizes (e.g. best under 14; best commercial; best waka; etc.).
From the public - using the most numerous and diverse of all possible contributors.
Some broad guidelines, as to maximum/minimum size and permissible materials.
Showcase the finest works of the finest craftsmen.
Definately national, possibly international.
A notable contribution to global, cultural achievements.
Requiring an eighteen month (to two year) implementation plan:
Six months planning (defining prize group classifications, timings, etc.), obtaining host site and funding (e.g. commercial sponsorship; lottery monies).
Public competition launch and six month contribution production/promotion period.
Six months deployment (winners awards; public visitor opening; initial permanent exhibit marketing and complete establishment of business as usual).
I for one would love to see a permanent display of legions of unique, carved warriors in a New Zealand town...
We're in an age where the sheer versatility of plastics has become both commonplace and entirely accepted. From liquid-tight, disposable containers and razors to traffic cones, chairs and dustbins, injection moulding of plastics has granted a plethora of highly useful innovations. Yet the raw materials used (petroleum derivatives) are expensive. Not just in dollar costs, but in the environmental impacts, consequences of the processing (extraction; refinement; preparation; mixing and moulding) involved. Let us consider this somewhat further. There's a vast variety of polymers available (18,000+), each with their own distinct profile of properties (e.g. thermal, strength, durability, colour, etc.), with hundreds of new ones appearing each year. How about purposeful cutting? For many applications the purity of the plastic is not a critical factor. For example, a plastic dustbin. What it not be prudent to consider making these from, say, 60% sand to reduce the material costs and enviromental impact?
Posted 9:18 PM, Tuesday, May 19, 2009, by Faber Optimé. Post permanently located here. Click here to email the author about this post.
Here's a refreshing new concept for art - simultaneous art or "simultart" for short.
The basic idea is that an artist creates an original work of art, in multiple sections.
Say three, as shown in the example opposite.
Each section of the work is exhibited in a separate location.
For example, in galleries in London, Paris and New York.
The art is displayed with (multiple sets of) microphones and speakers (physically located in accord with the relative positions of the sections of the work), connected to the other locations via the internet.
Hence viewers at one location are able to verbally express what they see (with little signs encouraging them to do so) to viewers at the other locations and vice versa.
An overall appreciation is achieved by way of this inter-communication, thus becoming an integral part of the work.
Every viewer experience is rich and unique, celebrating both the creativity of the artist and the closely interconnected nature of the contemporary world.
Posted 8:04 PM, Thursday, March 19, 2009, by Faber Optimé. Post permanently located here. Click here to email the author about this post.
Produced in the late 1970s, "Protect and Survive" was the epithet of a pamphlet and twenty short Public Information Films (PIFs), published by the Central Office for Information of the British Government, providing advice to civilians of what to do in the event of a nuclear conflict.
The pamphlet was briefly made available then very rapidly withdrawn from sale, in light of ensuing public reaction ("your exercise in futility is to not run, try to get home, hide under (your bed) and please curl up and die quietly.").
The PIFs have never been deployed as intended. They were made for (and withheld from) general (repeated, continual) release onto (BBC) public television, in the event of the threat of a potentially nuclear conflict emerging.
Whilst the global nuclear scenario has changed (now more nuclear nations; bigger, improved and more numerous weapons), the immediate risks to people substantively haven't.
Nor have the fundamentals of the public advisements:
Don't try to run (mass panic, immediate roads gridlock and damage paralyses transportation infrastructure; maximum personal blast/radiation exposure results)
Hide (bury yourself as best you can for as long as possible)
The unspoken realities:
Many dense urban areas reside adjacent/close to possible military targets.
Nuclear weapons are profoundly indescriminate, use likely inferring considerable direct, collateral, civilian damage.
A nuclear attack could occur with very little notice (hence the infamous "four minute warning").
Today's active nuclear arsenals are massively more powerful than those that existed at the time these films were made.
The explosion of the Tsar Bomba (Царь-бомба, literally "Emperor Bomb", commissioned by premier Nikita Khrushchev) is shown towards the end of the presentation. This was the largest, most powerful nuclear weapon ever detonated in the history of humanity to date. Massively more powerful than any other weapon devised before or since, it was developed by the Soviet Union. The bomb was originally designed to have a yield of about 100 megatons (one hundred million tons) of TNT; however for testing that was reduced by half in order to limit the amount of nuclear fallout that would result. It was detonated on the 30th of October, 1961, in the Novaya Zemlya archipelago. The explosive power released was equivalent to ten times the total amount of all the explosives used in World War II, combined.The flash was seen 1000km away. The area of effectively complete destruction extended to 25 km, and ordinary houses subjected to severe damage out to 35 km. Windowpanes were shattered 900km away.Its explosion was approximately 4000 times more powerful than that of the Hiroshima bomb.
Though all other nuclear weapons have considerably smaller explosive yields, for technical reasons they produce proportionally more fall-out radiation effects.
The total number of fatalities from the relatively small Hiroshima bomb alone (not including the 140,000+ Nagasaki victims), including those from subsequent radiation effects, was over a quarter of a million people.
Modern weapons typically have yields ten to one hundred times greater than the Hiroshima bomb.
External fall-out radiation will likely remain at generally fatal levels for not less than 3-5 weeks.
The minimal, projected longer-term impacts upon health, water and power infrastructures, agriculture and fertility infer a further 60%+ loss of affected populations.
Any considerable nuclear exchanges carry additional risks of a subsequent nuclear winter occuring. Particulates thrown up by explosions and (urban/industrial) fires into the atmosphere causing long-term, significant reduction in sunlight reaching the surface, potentially lasting for years. The resulting chronic impacts upon food production alone would be likely fatal to more than half of remaining populations from starvation; with illness (both from the cold and from radiation/epidemic diseases) taking a large majority of the rest.
How about for the next generation of lighters, a lighter that tells you "this cigarette will cost you a day of your life" or "Save your life - burn women not ciggies". A little OLED screen on the side connected to a compartment at lighter bottom, housing the gubbins. Ability to connect to PC via mini-USB to enable upload of custom, end-user specified messages would guarantee success.
Posted 12:56 PM, Sunday, June 24, 2007, by Faber Optimé. Post permanently located here. Click here to email the author about this post.
Whilst listening to the radio on the way in to work the other day, inspiration hit! Now you may have heard of/own a TIVO - the "smart" set top box that allows recording of live digital TV transmissions. Bring on the RIVO! A variation on the TIVO theme, a RIVO would be the corollary complement to digital radio. Of particular interest would be its potential capabilities to communicate additional information about the current transmission and capture live recordings. The clear copyright issues infer needs to curtail freely obtaining unlicensed digital copies of works. However, a continual personal bug bear is when I hear (some of) something good on the radio but miss hearing the name of the song/artist. The ability to be able to see that info about what's playing on the front of my car radio would be invaluable; if I could hit a "Save/record" button too, that'd be great! Whilst the plethora of infrastructure and copyright issues likely precludes the ideal of being able to purchase a track you here on the radio and retain in real time, the ability to save track info (then subsequently purchase online) would be a far more readily realisable.
Almost feel like apologising in advance for this one, since yet another perfectly valid means to exploit a communications medium presents another spam/junk mail opportunity. Nevertheless, it's a doozie! The widespread adoption of Bluetooth in mobile phones provides the new channel. Portable computers also having Bluetooth onboard provides the means. The principle is simple - a program designed to utilise the built in features of Bluetooth to actively push out advertising messages - Bluetooth Ads, or Bads for short! A critical feature of Bluetooth is Object Exchange (AKA obex). This allows the discrete exchange of computer data, typically comprising a record of a name and phone number (though can contain more). If and someone else with you have Bluetooth mobile phones, you can try this yourselves. Usually you'll be able to send and receive records from your phone's address books without too much difficulty. Note that during the process you'll need to select the specific phone to send to - often this will only be the make/model of the phone, though many owners have given their phone a more descriptive/personal moniker. Anyway, the "push" can be achived without necessarily requiring any explicit participation from the recipient (though the recipient will likely be given the option to accept or reject the information received, curiosity very often prevails!). Bluetooth is only a short range wireless technology, constituting a primary limitation - sender and recipient typically needing to be within ten metres of each other to "see" each others' phones. The practice has already been demonstrated, though in tawdry context, indeed this manual method being so labour intensive as to make impracticable for many purposes. I envisage a small utility, comprising (either hooks into Outlook or equivalent or) its own database of contact information, with a couple of specific modal settings. The contact information referred to requisite for two purposes - to contain outward bound messages and potentially capture prospective contacts. The program would run constantly (a Daemon service) and offer abilities to: detect and select Bluetooth phones nearby; send messages and potentially harvest advertised contact information. This final function arises by virtue of the capability for Bluetooth mobile phone users to nominate a "business card" (typically a singular, selected address book entry), this being freely available for recipient initialised collection. Another very specific requirement is the ability to exercise these functions either wholly unattended and indiscriminately (promiscuous mode) or selectively - emulating typical mobile phone functionality. The former operating mode embodies the raison d'etre for this invention - effectively this delivers the ability to deliver mass advertising by proximity alone. Thus a mobile phone shop can provide viewers at their shop window with their phone number against an address book entry such as "Mobiles - BEST!"; or a Travel Agent their contact details to passers by. Further capability might permit the sending of a free thumbnail of an artist's painting as someone passes by their gallery, or a clip from the latest song of the week when one passes a music shop.
Posted 11:40 AM, Sunday, October 29, 2006, by Faber Optimé. Post permanently located here. Click here to email the author about this post.
Crossing sound-responsive mechanics, as commonly (and cheaply!) demonstrated by such gift items as "dancing flowers"; with an articulated hair comb, one has the essentials of a device to animate human hair reactively to music.
A simpler case still would be pre-programmed movement patterns providing such effects as undulating wave or shock spike hair styles.
I can just see it on Top of the Pops now...
Posted 5:15 PM, Sunday, July 16, 2006, by Faber Optimé. Post permanently located here. Click here to email the author about this post.
On Monday this week, Auckland, New Zealand suffered a considerable power outage, affecting 1/4 of the region's population, including the Central Business District. With around a third of the entire NZ population living in the Auckland region, the impacts were considerable. Economic losses have been voiced in terms of in excess of $100 million NZ dollars.
Auckland, in contrast to most comparable cities (having power plants within district), varies in obtaining the majority of its power externally. The cause of the problem was identified as being in transmission at a critical substation.
These events have raised attention on the associated issue of power generation. New Zealand is proud to have a "clean green", deserved, international reputation. With increasing demands, politically protective of its anti-nuclear policies and a Kyoto signatory, power generation in New Zealand is a pointed debate.
All agree on the desirability of diminishing reliance upon non-renewable sources and promoting use of renewable sources such as wind, solar and tidal energy.
However tidal power is seen as immature, solar power (requiring considerable physical space) and wind power facing classic NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard) resistance.
A Fresh Perspective
So here's a new idea!
Challenging conventional thinking, I propose offshore multi-power plants. Arterially A hybrid of power generation technologies cohesively assembled into a structure designed for offshore sea deployment.
Illustrated opposite, conceptually this would comprise:
A module, tubular aluminium super-structure, providing a basic assembly framework and accommodating the direct mounting of multiple wind turbines atop its upright components.
A tiered pyramid, external design, all facias being covered with solar panelling.
Floating on multiple tidal power devices with multiple seabed anchoring, enabling relocation.
Using the classic golden ratios exemplified in Incan, Myan and Egyptian pyramid designs, multiple stepped tiers are envisaged.
From lowest to top, each would comprise a(n almost) flat bed of solar panels, with drainage gaps between.
In similar corrugated fashion, upright panels, aligning to the pyramidal form.
Periodic wind turbines protruding infer the need for vertical panels of some height - the intention being for each propeller head to be positioned relative to the next tier of propeller heads to minimise resistance and enable optimal aerodynamics and airflow over the structural whole.
A seven tier multiplant would comprise over a hundred wind turbines, nearly two hundred thousand solar panels, cover an area about the size of nine football pitches and stand nearly 340 metres high.
(Making a number of extremely broad brush assumptions!), taking into account: average available component efficiencies; meteorological variations; proportions of idle time and the additional contribution of tidal generation, this would consistently generate an average output in excess of three and a third megawatts of power (at least! Hey! Power generation's not my main game this estimate might be far too conservative!).
I would love to work with Hoberman on the best internal construction...
Anyway the more observant will have noted the decided lack of discussion thus far regarding tidal power and flotation. Key components indeed!
Three fold flotation is envisaged.
In the first instance, to enable assemble and provide minimum required buoyancy, sizable, inflatable tubing would be required on the underside of the entire structure - at base level a lattice of substantial (structural) high-pressure aluminium pipes.
Vertical, perpendicular tubes periodically placed along these pipes would provide inflow to conventional hydroelectric generator(s). By way of a simple piston attached to (MUCH larger than pictured!) buoyancy device in combination with a one way internal valve, sea water would be tidally pumped in volume.
The third tranche of flotation would be optional in stability terms and additional in terms of power provision. The sheer surface area provides extremely well for nets of Salter Ducks to also be suspended beneath.
I'm reckoning that I could deliver this for a fraction of the cost of nuclear alternatives.
Multiplicity of benefits to having power production offshore - negligable real estate cost; tactical/strategic relocation options; minimal visible/environmental impact, though would truly be a wonderous construction; scaleable options and almost limitless reproductions/redeployments and worldwide increasing demand.
Governments, power cos and investors may apply by email.
Posted 7:42 PM, Thursday, June 15, 2006, by Faber Optimé. Post permanently located here. Click here to email the author about this post.
Who can have failed to note the meteoric rise in popularity of the iPod. This can be identified as being primarily down to:
Ability to use/listen to music acquired by way of file sharing;
Adaptability is another important facet waiting in the wings. All the above said, iPods clearly illustrate a consumer desire for accessible technology - cutting edge, computer-derived/hosted functionality with high and immediate availability, I'll coin the phrase Personal Information Technology (PIT). Note that mobile phones and PDAs also share similar characteristics, though obviously for differing purposes. However the iPod fails to deliver in the majority of application domains, save for its (multi-)media playback capability. Thus iPods join the pantheon of personal technologies. For the more avid of techhies, it's yet another box/gadget to carry. One could make some interesting comparisons with the Palm LifeDrive, which takes the iPod concept and adds to it PDA capabilities as well as file/data storage and retrieval. So here I propose an alternative approach. Cognaisant of the PC with its generic design aspects, there's a ready opportunity for an equivalent product, but specifically designed with a fit to the (highly portable/available) ergonomics demonstrated in the iPod, in mind. Fundamentally, such a device would:
Require minimal on-board functionality; and
As has proved effective with PCs, pretty much all additional componentry could be made available by way of add-in/plug-in modules.
Easily conceivable (starter for 10?!) modules would include:
Power (variety of power to weight ratios thus options available)
Mobile telephony/GPRS/3G services
Storage (for MP3s/programs/data)
Wireless modules (Bluetooth/other for wireless headsets/I/O devices, such as keyboards and printers) - though this could conceivably be built-in, an external module may provide advantages in terms of upgradability. E.g. swap out or add on a WiMax adapter.
Display (e.g. OLED HMDs)
Thus custom ensembles of high-tech gadgetry can be assembled into a single, compact yet extensible module.
Once a product has bested this market space their longevity is surely assured as the basic framework becomes prerequisite for emergent solutions.
Posted 4:58 PM, Thursday, June 01, 2006, by Faber Optimé. Post permanently located here. Click here to email the author about this post.
What a concept it is... A colleague sent an email with the pictures presented here. Originator unknown, if this is your work - please get in touch - would love to attribute and thank you. Make your own mind up as to whether fact or fiction! Shown at left for the first time. What is it I hear you cry?! Sure doesn't look like a PC...
Perhaps it kinda looks like some sort of web cam built into a pen...
This is more than some mere webcam!
Whilst the projection display technology is hugely questionable, the laser projected keyboard is more credible, using available technology.
The Virtual Laser Keyboard is a first ranking gadget - being both wireless (Bluetooth) and whackingly innovative. However, whilst functional, this technology does have distinct limitations - most notably requiring the unit to be used perpendicular to a flat plane surface; with more than moderate ambient light detracting from visibility. The final image illustrates another concept integration of this technology.
Posted 8:29 AM, Saturday, May 06, 2006, by Faber Optimé. Post permanently located here. Click here to email the author about this post.
Now Bluetooth headsets are quite prevalent, some being extremely small (e.g. the 5G headset - just 5 grams in weight!). However to date these have all been technically designed for the mobile phone market. Increasing availability of Bluetooth on personal computers highlights a current deficiency. Whilst Bluetooth headsets are adequate for Voice over IP (VoIP) applications, they are not suitable for speech recognition (sic) applications, such as Microsoft Windows Tablet Edition, Office 2003, Dragon Dictate, etc. Whereas phone calls require relatively low bandwidth to be effective, speech recognition demands much higher quality audio to pick up nuances such as the difference between "f"s and "s"s or "b"s and "p"s, found in parts of the audio spectrum not so well served by lower bandwidth. Additional Bluetooth specification issues muddy the water. Thus we still await for the perfect headset to emerge:
Small and leightweight - easy to forget you're wearing - unobtrustive
Provides not only telephony but also verbal computer control and dictation and other sound applications
Low power, high availability
Personally I'd like to also have an optionally pluginable ear piece on fly lead to attach when I want to listen to my MP3s in stereo too.
Posted 11:50 PM, Monday, May 01, 2006, by Faber Optimé. Post permanently located here. Click here to email the author about this post.
This site embodies some holistic thinking in coalescing a number of technologies to create most effective communication - after all, that's what it's all about! Primary publishing technologies used include: Microsoft Frontpage for site/page design and use of Blogger technologies. The former provides a robust framework for sub-/site assembly and general page design, including navigation - a key aspect. The latter provides a method for extremely dynamic publishing capability. Utilised in addition to other tools and technologies delivers rich HTML automatic email delivery and RSS and ATOM newsfeeds. Blogger also provides extremely well for authorship-anywhere - another research interest. In addition to its full blown web interface, a number of additional leightweight pubishing interfaces are provided. This provides immediate, user-overt infrastructure for comments and track backs (another blogging technology), as well as a myriad of possibilities for publishers... Photos and notes jotted on your cellphone PDA available on the web and delivered by email to all site subscribers before you're back to your desk anyone? Anyway this site is all about communicating information. Research shows that internet users are primarily users of email and the web, typically (though by no means exclusively!) using Internet Explorer. This web site is as content-rich as possible; with complementary, content-rich automated email, generated automatically from the same source publication. To efficiently find what you need, decent Search technology is vital. An effective (free!) implementation is shown top right. Readers should note an additional, critical design objective of this site is that it be of minimal cost to build and run!