Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Archive: March 2009

Bladerunner Tokyo (in Large-Format Photography)

The future began a long time ago in Tokyo...
Nightmare Playgrounds, Part 3

More entertaining than creepy? I'd say both
Victorian Flea Circuses: A Lost Art Form

Death-defying acts of flea heroism!
Strangest Music Scores, Part 2

It's a mad, mad, mad music!
Monstrous Aviation, Part 2: Huge Helicopters!

"Let's see how insanely huge we can make them!"
Sculptural Weirdness in Public Places, Part 1

Maddeningly bizarre, some very slightly nsfw
One-In-A-Million Collisions

From satellites to submarines and asteroids
Walls of Death in Amusement Parks: A Brief History

Ladies and lions on motorcycles going up the wall
Apocalyptic Scientific Experiments

Not always clean or painless, but can be very quick
"Cosmic Motors" Concept Art by Daniel Simon

Find a quiet corner to drool over it
Train Wrecks!

Some of the most spectacular, caught on camera

March 28, 2009 - Biscotti Bits
Mixed Links & Images

incl. "The Biggest Diamond Heist in History"
March 22, 2009 - Biscotti Bits
Mixed Links & Images

incl. "Robots Making Cars"
March 12, 2009 - Biscotti Bits
Mixed Links & Images

incl. "Battling Huge Waves!"
March 6, 2009 - Biscotti Bits
Mixed Links & Images

incl. "Everyday Computing in 2019"

------------ DRB Science Fiction Section Updates: ------------

March 16, 2009 - SFSite
"The Body Snatchers" and Other Alien Pods

Mind impostors, emotional imitators, and worse
March 2, 2009 - SF Site
"The World Inside": Overpopulation, Sex and Sensibility

Silverberg, O'Connell, and other updates

Continue on to other monthly archives:
February 2009
January 2009
December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008
December 2007
November 2007
October 2007
September 2007
August 2007
July 2007
June 2007
May 2007
April 2007
March 2007
February 2007
January 2007
December 2006
November 2006
October 2006
Link Lattes

Link Latte 105

#105 - Week of March 30, 2009

Hubble's Greatest Hits - [wow space]
U-505: A German Submarine Exhibition - [interesting]
Moving that city-block-long submarine - [wow video]
Paco House! Like you never seen a house before - [design]
Beam me up! Mysterious columns in the sky - [nature]
Best board games come from Germany - [Settlers of Catan]
Nazi UFO Superlink - [dieselpunk myth]
Angular wheels (why, oh why?) - [auto]
Most expensive house in US, info, more - [pics]
Dead Pixel in Google Earth - [art]
Mercedes F-Cell Roadster: back to the 1886 - [concept auto]
Bloody Brilliant: blood-themed designs - [art]
NASA's "alien" anomalies caught on film - [controversial]
Seriously enviable office desk designs - [geek]
Happy Children Playing Inside the Reactor (Glowing) - [weird]
Great site to track recent earthquakes - [cool site]
Pizza Vending Machine, more - [interesting]
Get electricity... from cats! - [useful?]
This is why you're fat, and your pet is fat, too - [gross]
Very, very strange bike - on eBay - [vintage]
Amazing Jumbo Elephant Landing - [fun video]
New word in Japanese animation: CatShitOne - [cartoon, violence]
Awesome 1960s commercial, more - [video ads]
Impossible Water Slide - [fun video]
Quite possibly the weirdest 1980s rap ever - [music video]
Scary Alien Dog, What?... - [fun videos]
Multi-colored lizards groovy motions, info - [wow video]
"Burning Piano"- simple, yet creepy - [short movie]
Make stunning Flash websites for free! - [promotion]


Monday, March 30, 2009

Bladerunner Tokyo (in Large-Format Photography)

Link - by Thomas Birke

Feeding further our fascination with Japan, we present another visual treat, this time in as wide-format as possible, without making your monitors explode (make sure you allow time for page to load). The photography and text is by Thomas Birke, a master of urban photography, exclusively for Dark Roasted Blend.

The future began a long time ago in Tokyo...

I am fascinated by life in metropolitan areas, surrounded by millions of other people... I love neon signs and public video screens. AND rooftops. Everywhere. Concrete is romantic and beautiful to me.

Ginza in the rain

Isolation in a crowded place, aglow with neon...

I went to Tokyo in the summer of 2008 for three weeks to take pictures of "the future". What I found was even more impressive. The future began a long time ago in Tokyo, and so the whole city has a face, there has been so much organic growth - there is no master plan, the city has been shaped by individuals' desires. The result is a structure that seems alive, even if you do not see the inhabitants, as usually the case with long-exposure photography (see this set, make sure to click-thru to highest resolution).

I do Large Format Photography, currently on a Sinar P2 8x10 (basically I scouted locations on foot during the day, and then , and then brought my camera in the evening to make four pictures max, while the "blue hour" lasts).

Various views of the Rainbow Bridge

My Vision is to create a preview of our life in the future. Is it possible to efficiently and happily live together in a confined space for a large number of people? I say yes. I assume there are two ways of doing this – the right way and the wrong one. Carefully planned High Rise Apartment buildings versus makeshift slums. Hong Kong versus Mexico City.

View from Shinagawa Prince East Tower 17F (fragment)

I am most interested in density. My aspiration is to show at least a 1000 people or their traces on every picture. Be it the illuminated windows of their apartments, the light streaks of their vehicles or their clothes hung out of windows for drying. Even if you do not see people directly, you can see their footprint on the urban environment. An organism that is alive and breathing.

If one were to print these pictures at a scale of 2x3 meters, one would find a different story in every square centimetre. The images should provoke interest on first sight, through colour, shape and proportions. But even if you examine them more intensively, you should never be bored.

Tokyo rooftop (fragment)

Tokyo is the largest urban aggregation in the world. But despite this fact the city is safe and efficient. All religions and philosophies can be pursued freely. Because of the sheer mass of people, no one has to do anything alone, everybody can find his group of peers. Public and private transport is ubiquitous. Like futuristic snakes the roads and railway tracks wind through high rise canyons:

View from the 10th floor of a fire escape, and still there are elevated roads winding around... Right: expressway in Shanghai

The city resembles a jungle in principle.

There is the shrub layer, consisting of millions of 1-3 story buildings, then there is the canopy made of 4-12 story buildings and the emergent layer, towering high above the rest, represented by skyscrapers. Leaves and branches are mimicked by the millions of air conditioners and antennas on the rooftops. Everything is interconnected through a liana meshwork, consisting of roads, railway tracks, stairs, pedestrian overpasses, elevators and escalators.

Shinjuku view from a fireescape 6F near Yoyogi Station

Every kind of architectural style and period is represented, all stages of weathering can be found. Public as well as private buildings are cared for and used constantly. If something breaks, it will be replaced or repaired. Investments have a long lifespan. This is another aspect of the organic appearance of the city.

View from Tokyo Shiodome Rooftop

Zoom-in on a rooftop detail

The further you look into the image, the more windows can be seen...

The total might of this organism is what I want to portray with my pictures. To achieve this I climbed countless fire escapes in Tokyo and tried to capture the complete force of nature. The photos are not about single buildings, they are about the completeness of the urban jungle. All elements have the same importance, and the further you look into the image, the more windows can be seen per square centimetre. I tried to achieve a three dimensional effect, which is supported by the sheer size of the printouts. The images are like a virtual window.

Shinagawa Rooftop View

Closer view... more is revealed -

The pictures were shot mainly in twilight. The magic hour, where the houses are shining as bright as the residual daylight in the sky and the colourful neon signs melt with the green-blue of the beginning night. For me this is the most beautiful colour theme a city can offer.

I am looking for the city from Blade Runner... All my romantic cyberpunk dreams have been fulfilled in Tokyo. I wish I could have stayed even longer.

Truly a romantic spot in Tokyo!
all images copyright, and by exclusive permission of Thomas Birke


Also Read:
Astounding Japanese Highways, Bridges and Interchanges
Japan's Neon Lights

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Category: Travel,Photography

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Sunday, March 29, 2009

The Biggest Diamond Heist in History

Scroll down for today's pictures & links.

The Biggest Diamond Heist in History

This caper is described in detail in the Wired magazine article, and makes for an extremely entertaining read. It asks to be made into an Oceans-22 movie, but for now enjoy this video and make sure to check out the full account of how Leonardo and his team of "Monsters and Geniuses" broke into the most secure vault in the world, got appr. $100 million worth of diamonds, what later went wrong and how they got caught (not all of them, mind you)

Today's pictures & links:

Speaking of throwing away money...

This is a great symbolic image for the modern economy:

(original unknown)


Radiant Copenhagen - city-wide urban apocalyptic art

An apocalyptic show and a guided bus tour will be provided for those wanting to check out the "Radiant Copenhagen" - a future version of Copenhagen (meaning alternative realities created through eye-catching contemporary art)

The Giant Skull in place of a Little Mermaid; the Bubble Architecture; and the Perfect Concrete Wave on a sidewalk

Check out the wiki-fied Google map (with description of each installation) on their site - you'll see weird dystopian locations, which will spread from the internet into the real city, with enactments of staged reality appearing without warning.


Gigantic Helicopter Hotel

As a strangely timely addition to our recent "Giant Helicopters" article, this bit of fantastic news fits perfectly - read more info here - this is a souped-up (very souped-up) version of the largest helicopter Mi V-12:

(images via)

This thing is (sadly) not real. Good idea, though.


Manufacturing MIG-29K Russian fighter jets at Lukhovitzy's Factory

To be sold in India. See a lot more images at original site Blog Pilota, or a page at EnglishRussia.

(images credit: Blog Pilota)


Mixed fresh links for today:

Most gigantic miniature railroad in the world - [awesome]
Shudder Pulps! - [gallery, some nsfw]
The Evolution of the Suitcase - [vintage]
Paul DiFilippo on recent apocalyptic fiction - [books]
Manga Gadgets Anime Cornucopia - [gadgets]
Washed Dogs Website - [miserable animals]
Babe-asaurus Rex and her Popup Book - [art]
No Chute Sky-Diving - [wow video ad]
"Shaking All Over" in Cantonese (rare) - [fun video]
Make stunning Flash websites for free! - [promotion]

"Most people think time is like a river, that flows swift and sure in one direction. But I have seen the face of time, and I can tell you they are wrong. Time is an ocean in a storm..."
- Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time


Original Batmobile at Southern California Car Wash

A careful detailing and a wash of the Batman vehicle from the 1960s TV series - info

(image via)


Russian Robot "Tekhnika"

The picture was taken in the 1970s inside one of the Russian assembly factories. Looks like the "robots-to-people" ratio is entirely fine, thank you.


All wrapped up

(image via)


Updates from Mike Libby and Stephane Halleux

Mike Libby from Insect Lab Studio has new clockwork masterpieces on display, and also invites you to join his Facebook page.

(images credit: Insect Lab Studio)

We mentioned his work in our Robots in Arts article. Another artist whom we featured before has put up great updates on his redesigned site - Stephane Halleux:

(image credit: Stephane Halleux)


I see what you did here.

As a Photoshop supplement to our recent compilation of weirdest kiddie slides, here is a classic one, made from a grater:

In case you'd think that it happens only in Photoshop land, here is an example from a recent contemporary design show... also using grater:

(original unknown)

It has so many holes, I don't see the point for this "screen", really.


An interesting retro all-terrain vehicle from Porsche

This was 1943 Skoda Radschlepper Ost (designed by Porsche) - more info. It only achieved 15 km/h on a highway - a heavy tractor designed to pull artillery weapons.

(images via)s

"The development of this vehicle started in 1941/42 as a result of conditions on the Eastern Front. Complete vehicle was to be ready for Winter of 1942/43. Prototype was ready in late 1942 and 200 vehicles were ordered and then in 1943 order was reduced to 100 vehicles. The vehicles proved to be a failure and didn't fulfill the role they were designed for."


Is he lost? or just exploring?

(original unknown)


Mystery Photo

The Giant Cube. What?.. Why?.. "All your base are belong to us"?

(image via)

UPDATE: This monolith is the work of Jean Nouvel displayed at EXPO.02 in Morat, Switzerland. There was also pretty cool "floating cloud" structure at Yverdon:


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