Thursday, February 28, 2008

Distorted Perspective

Richard Dupont has a pretty amazing ability to warp your perspective and toy with your retina. This video showcases some of the ways he manipulates his medium to create a pretty drastic visual experience. The film starts off slow but the pay off comes in the last minute of the short.

Future Cities

I've come across two new ideas for cities that are fascinating but raise some interesting issues. I've lived in San Francisco for 5 years now and with the exception of the De Young and the Federal building have been disappointed with new the architecture that I see rising in city. It's been somewhat devoid of creativity an imagination. I'm sure a lot is hampered by building code and bureaucracies, which is why I was pleasantly surprised to see such a large scale, somewhat controversial architectural plan in the works for Treasure Island.

The concept is to create a fully sustainable community on Treasure Island that will be a model for green cities of the future. It touts full self reliance on solar energy, a self supporting urban farm and urban planning that will create a community based around open spaces.

A few of the debated flaws include that it's built on landfill that will liquify during an earthquake, will flood during the process of global warming and will destroy all historical structures that currently exist on the land. Despite these challenges I think it's great that we're designing for the future and are willing to test new ideas on such a large scale. I especially like the idea of creating a community that is reliant on walking and bicycling for its main modes of transportation.

The other intriguing concept is the Venture Xtreme complex schedule to for completion by 2011 in London that will allow outdoor enthusiasts to surf, mountainbike and rock climb. The highlight is the 20m wave house that will be an 'urban surfers paradise.' It's poised to be a theme park for adults that will let them surf without traveling far and wide for the perfect wave. Although it sounds exciting I started to wonder where the line is drawn for simulated experiences and what part of the surfing experience is compromised when you know a nicely shaped wave will roll in ever 30 seconds.... I seem to think maybe this is another situation where instant gratification destroys something great.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Sound of Color

We expect more from brands these days. Our generation has evolved into a culture of Free Love where we want experiences to function on different levels and expect a full bodied experience where things are given to us for Free. Companies have raised the bar and we've come to expect more than just a product or service, we expect a full experience from a brand.

The Sound of Color is a great example of just this. We think of color and we associate the artistic and entertaining experience with which we are engaged with the company who produced it. Experience THE SOUND OF COLOR for yourself. One of the biggest flaws is it's not made to be viral; but does it resonate with you? Watch the 'making of' on their site for a brief 3 minute explanation.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Cutting Edge Story Telling

We're constantly inundated with a barrage of news and media. Choosing what current events we want to spend our time learning about is harder than you might think in our information rich age. Well, Media Storm has recently created a platform for consolidating issues and organizing them in a friendly, entertaining and aesthetic manner.

I think they're onto something with their site that is based on a great design that gives viewers interesting visuals with an informative voice over. It's easy to get the gist of a story or a subject and then click through on topics that spark your interest.

Check out the MediaStorm website and watch Rocketboom's recent interview with the staff. They're certainly setting an exciting new precident for how we get
our news.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Energy Gym

Finally my dream is coming true. After talking about a gym where members produce energy while they work it looks like a Seattle based company has finally brought the equipment to market. Learn more here.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Black Swan

Nissim Taleb author of Black Swam spoke last night at the Herbst Theatre. He spoke about probability and prediction. The term black swan first came about because no one ever believe one existed, it was like a unicorn. Then a black swan was spotted in Australia and everyone realized it wasn't that absurd of a possibility.

What Taleb spoke about can best be described as the philosophy of probability.

"A black swan is an outlier, an event that lies beyond the realm of normal expectations. Most people expect all swans to be white because that's what their experience tells them; a black swan is by definition a surprise. Nevertheless, people tend to concoct explanations for them after the fact, which makes them appear more predictable, and less random, than they are. Our minds are designed to retain, for efficient storage, past information that fits into a compressed narrative. This distortion, called the hindsight bias, prevents us from adequately learning from the past."

Taleb talked a bit about the stock market and commented that even people like Warren Buffet just get lucky. One of his articles in the Times discusses the attack on the Trade Center and how we understand risk.

Risk has the potential to create such failure and produce such creativity. We're so adverse to risk, but is avoiding risk always the best strategy.