May 27, 2005

High Linkery

I've been hoarding links for a while now, always with the intention of posting about them to the blog. If you're trying to get through your Friday afternoon and are looking for something interesting to read, try one of these. If you can't read, fear not; my next post will probably feature photos of zoo animals. Here they are, roughly categorized.

Environmentalism and design

  • "All you need is terracotta clay, a compliant cow and a match." An Australian professor has invented a do-it-yourself method for making ceramic water filters. They're amazingly cheap, and all fabrication can be done with materials and tools easily available in the developing world.

  • Designing the Future [Newsweek]. This is an interview with William McDonough, whose "vision for the future includes factories so safe they need no regulation, and novel, safe materials that can be totally reprocessed into new goods, so there's no reason to scale back consumption (or lose jobs)." Here's an excerpt explaining why his book (which I just bought), Cradle to Cradle, is made entirely of plastic:
    Why take something as exquisite as a tree and knock it down? Trees make oxygen, sequester carbon, distill water, build soils, convert solar energy to fuel, change colors with the seasons, create microclimates and provide habitat. My book "Cradle to Cradle," which I wrote with Michael Braungart, is printed on pages made of plastic resins and inorganic fillers that are infinitely recyclable. They're too heavy, but we're working with companies now to develop lightweight plastic papers. We have safe, lightweight inks designed to float off the paper in a bath of 180 degrees—hotter than you would encounter under normal circumstances. We can recapture the inks and reuse them without adding chlorine and dioxins to the environment. And the pages are clean, smooth and white.

Urban design

  • Julia Christensen is a photographer documenting how communities are reusing now-defunct big-box stores. I waited too long on this one, so the New York Times article is now archived, unfortunately, but you can visit her site:

  • A TTC presentation about the Spadina Subway Extension Environmental Assessment [PDF]. This is great — it goes into quite a bit of detail about the routing options considered.

  • Traffic Expands to Fill Available Road Space [Culture Change]. People are finally actually saying it:
    The Greater Vancouver Regional District recently adopted this philosophy in its Long-Range Transportation Plan, which states: "Selectively accepting congestion to change travel patterns is another (transport service) policy lever...Congestion is usually considered an evil; however, allowing congestion to deteriorate for the single-occupant vehicles is a practical method of promoting transit and carpools."

  • Some guy has created the TTC Subway Rider Efficiency Guide, a wallet sized booklet that shows the location of stairs, exits, and up/down escalators for all TTC subway platforms. Knowing this infomation ahead of time, you can shave whole seconds off of your trip. He's also provided a list of quirks that make quirky stations quirky.

Interfaces, commuication, and design

Some Humor

Posted by madhava at 03:29 PM | Comments (0)

May 19, 2005

Cheaper by the 1.42 dozen

The geese across the street from where I work are looking for office space. With 17 goslings, I'm sure they're particuluarly drawn by the "Kids & Co. Day Care."


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Posted by madhava at 12:48 PM | Comments (1)

May 09, 2005

There once was a Marquis from France...

Jack's live performance of his epic poem The Plains of Abraham was fantastic. If you're somewhere along the remainder of the tour, absolutely go see him. If not, there are mp3s of some of his different-every-time performances on the website. He's also keeping a weblog of the tour. Update: here is a PDF version of the tour brochure.

I took some pictures of the performance, and, since I was there, of Fort York and views of downtown Toronto.

See the full set of photos from the performance and Fort York.

I should probably just caption them, but, hopefully, they're self-explanatory enough for now. One thing to point out, though, is the purpose behind the seventh photo down. At first glance, it's just a shot of some of the crowd mingling after the post-reading vintage rifle demonstration; worth noting is Jack, at far right, taking care of some critics. It turns out that it's best not to challenge him on whether his poem is sufficiently Illiadic.

Jack shoots

Posted by madhava at 12:42 PM | Comments (3)

May 06, 2005

Goings on

Turns out there a lot of things going on right now or coming up soon that are worth knowing about. Here, as a public service, is a list of some of them in order of by when it would be useful to know about them.

  1. Tonight - 7pm, Friday, May 6
    Plains of Abraham Epic TourMy high-school friend Jack Mitchell's cross-country epic poem-reading tour makes its Toronto stop at Fort York this evening. His website explains it best, but Jack, a classicist and scholar of Homeric epic, will be performing a version of his epic poem The Plains of Abraham, chronicling the 1759-60 Siege(s) of Quebec. This will likely be the best public example of iambic octameter of the year. I'm going to take my camera, so there may well be photos of it here soon.

  2. On right now; May 1-31
    CONTACT 2005, the 9th annual Toronto photography festival, is on all month long with "over 400 Canadian and international artists and photographers exhibiting at more than 170 venues." There are a number of specific exhibits I'm going to try to make it to... more on this later. This month's Toronto Life has a good article on Stephen Bulger, one of the main organizers, and, by extension, about the growth of the festival.

  3. All too soon — May 11-15
    Santé, the Bloor-Yorkville wine festival is on next week. There are events the whole week, but the fun and cheap wander-around-and-taste event is Saturday the 14th.

  4. Start planning now — May 28-29
    That's right, it's time for Doors Open Toronto, when "over 100 buildings with architectural, historic or cultural significance open their doors to the public for a city-wide celebration."

That is all. Thank you.

Posted by madhava at 01:59 PM | Comments (1)