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Showing posts from November, 2013

Oscar's Oasis Rules!

My children and their best friend have just introduced me to a cartoon show they all adore, Oscar's Oasis (available to stream on Netflix) - a French-South Korean series of very distinctive shorts that riff on the frenetic pace, ambience and non-verbal humor of Chuck Jones' classic Wile E. Coyote and Road Runner cartoons, but bring a whole new energy and contemporary rhythm to the always-chaotic and hilarious proceedings.




As in the Roadrunner cartoons, food (and water or other refreshment) is the focus here. The setting is a desert - drawn, as Wikipedia points out, from elements of the Sahara, Kalahari and North American deserts.

As Oscar the lizard struggles to find and consume desperately-needed vittles, he is thwarted - and very occasionally assisted for a brief time - by a chaotic, equally determined trio consisting of Popy, a fennec fox, Buck, a vulture, and Harchi, a hyena, whose communal vehicle - and sometimes weapon - of choice is an old shopping cart.



The humor is entir…

Jony and Marc's (RED) Auction Raises Over $26 Million To Fight AIDS In Africa (Updated)

According to SFGate and Business Insider, Jony Ive and Marc Newson's first major Sotheby's auction for Bono's charity, Product (RED) - see my post below - last night raised over $26 million (I earlier reported over $12 million, based on an early post from Forbes.com) to help fight HIV-AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria in Africa.



Among the major highlights, Jony's beautifully-designed new generation (RED) Mac Pro sold for $977,000 (estimate $40,000-60,000; price includes buyer's premium), while the one-off Leica Digital Rangefinder Camera designed by Ive and Newson, and estimated to sell for $500,000-700,000, fetched an astonishing $1,805,000.





For the next auction, perhaps Jony will design what I'm waiting for - the electric (or perhaps hydrogen-powered) Apple iCar! 

(This beautiful concept design below is actually by Franco Grassi.)



See also these stories:



Does Apple's Jony Ive Have The World's Best Job? (Forbes.com)





TIME 100: Apple's Jony Ive Is An "Ar…

Jony and Marc's (RED) Auction - Sir Jonathan Ive, Marc Newson and Bono

In a few hours at Sotheby's in New York, Apple's design genius, Sir Jonathan Ive (better known as Jony), and his longtime designer pal, Marc Newson, will present an incredible selection of extremely beautiful objects that they have curated and/or designed for Bono'sProduct (RED), the charity Bono established in 2006 with Bobby Shriver to raise awareness of and to work to eliminate HIV/AIDS in Africa.




Among the goodies up for grabs are an exquisite one-off Leica Digital Rangefinder Camera that Ive and Newson have collaborated on - estimated to be worth at least half a million dollars (I wish I were bidding for that!) - a truly elegant Steinway Grand Piano (estimate $150-200,000) and, one of Jony's own groundbreaking creations, the new Mac Pro in red (estimate $40-60,000)!









Proceeds from the sale will be donated to The Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, the world's largest financier of anti-AIDS, TB and malaria programs, which according to Wikipedia &q…

From Dawn to Sunset on the Beach - Pelicans, Whales and Memories of my Father

Living and writing by the ocean - in a spot we like to call Aldabra (which in reality is a remote and very beautiful atoll in the Indian Ocean) - the beach figures large in my thoughts and daily routine.

Usually I wake early, and on occasion I walk at dawn through the waves, past the occasional fisherperson, enjoying the darkness slowly transforming into light, the spray of the breakers, the pull of the tide around my feet, the constant barking of the sea lions, the damp of the ocean mist - and the sight of the sun breaking over the horizon to the east.






Recently, a few days before what would have been his birthday, I thought of my father as I trod the beach at dawn. He came from a tiny Scottish fishing village, Rosehearty, settled by Danes in the 1400s, on a forbidding coast actually farther north than most of Denmark - and not an unimaginable distance from the Faroe Islands and Iceland.



I visited his village only once as a young child of four or five, although I have fairly vivid memori…

MIT, inFORM, Radical Atoms - and the Mindblowing Future of 3D Displays and Physical Interaction (VIDEO)

This is a truly mindblowing development from a group of extremely talented and visionary people at the Tangible Media Group at the MIT Media Lab - a "Dynamic Shape Display" called inFORM that allows remote participants, using video conferencing technology, to physically manipulate real objects in an entirely different space - even on an entirely different continent. Cool music, too!

How long before we can virtually shake hands?




Here's more information about inFORM from the Tangible Media Group's own webpage:
inFORMDaniel Leithinger, Sean Follmer, Alex Olwal, Akimitsu Hogge, Hiroshi Ishii / 2013 inFORM is a Dynamic Shape Display that can render 3D content physically, so users can interact with digital information in a tangible way. inFORM can also interact with the physical world around it, for example moving objects on the table’s surface. Remote participants in a video conference can be displayed physically, allowing for a strong sense of presence and the ability …

The Story Behind the Immortal Bass Line of Lou Reed's Walk On The Wild Side (VIDEO)

Of all the tributes to, and stories about, Lou Reed over the past week, this is one of the most fascinating - even though it doesn't directly concern Reed himself, but rather Herbie Flowers, the legendary British bass player who created the immortal bass line that opens Reed's massive solo hit, Walk On The Wild Side.

When I first heard Walk On The Wild Side, it seemed the ultimate late night New York song: a transgender story (which apparently radio stations in the 1970s and since didn't even pick up on, despite the line, "Shaved his legs and then he was a she") featuring characters from Andy Warhol'sFactory, which sounded as if it had been recorded at about 1 am in some smoky lowdown basement hangout in the East Village.

The video above reveals the immense influence of Herbie Flowers - who had worked with David Bowie, who produced Walk On The Wild Side and the Lou Reed album it came from, Transformer, on Bowie's own classic breakout single, Space Oddity.

Fl…