I want to thank photographer Bard Larsen for letting me use this amazing photograph of Lake Bondhusvatnet in Norway as the background on Colossal for the month of September. The lake is in Folgefonna National Park in southern Norway and is fed by the melting water of the Bundhusbreen glacier. Larsen’s documentation of Norwegian landscapes is enough to make you whip out the credit card and buy a one way ticket.
Tokyo-based designer Duncan Shotton, known for his whimsical functional objects like the magnetic cloud keyholder and his Lochness monster pins, just launched a Kickstarter Project for a new kind of pencil that makes rainbows when you sharpen it. Each pencil has a 6-layer rainbow core of recycled paper (not wood) and either a white or black exterior. Shotton says the pencils will ship before Christmas.
Last week Minneapolis artist HOTTEA (previously here and here) stopped by NYC and created this excellent rainbow of thread atop the pedestrian tunnel at the Williamsburg Bridge. Titled Rituals the piece consisted of 2,000 strands that took the artist and his assistants some 11 hours to cut and tie. Photos above courtesy Luna Park and Patrick Sullivan. (via Hyperallergic, Animal)
It’s the biggest time of year for the small town of Zundert in the Netherlands. Twenty gigantic floats were paraded through the city as part of Corso Zundert (previously), an annual flower parade that sees teams of designers and artisans compete to build the most original sculpture covered almost completely with dahlia flowers.
Several floats appearing in Corso Zundert this year contained moving parts, including the winner, Crazy Gold, that had some 53 moving components. You can see a ranking of this years competitors over on Croso Zundert, videos on YouTube, and many more photos courtesy Omroep Brabant.
Designed by engineer André Waterkeyn for the 1958 World’s Fair in Brussels, Belgium, Atomium is a 102m (335 ft) tall model of a unit cell of an iron crystal (each sphere representing an atom) enlarged 165 billion times. Filmmaker Richard Bently was allowed access to shoot this great exterior and interior timelapse of the building which is comprised of 27 sequences filmed over five nights and two days. (via Vimeo)
A few days ago Colleen Theisen who helps with outreach and instruction at the Special Collections & University Archives at the University of Iowa shared an amazing gif she made that demonstrates something called fore-edge painting on the edge of a 1837 book called Autumn by Robert Mudie. Fore-edge painting, which is believed to date back as early as the 1650s, is a way of hiding a painting on the edge of a book so that it can only be seen when the pages are fanned out. There are even books that have double fore-edge paintings, where a different image can be seen by flipping the book over and fanning the pages in the opposite direction.
When I realized the book Theisen shared was only one of a series about the seasons, I got in touch and she agreed to photograph the other three so we could share them with you here. Above are photos of Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter which were donated to the University of Iowa by Charlotte Smith. How much fun are these? Keep an eye on the University of Iowa’s special collections Tumblr as they unearth more artificats from the archives.
Update: Because this post is getting so much attention, here are some more amazing fore-edge paintings found on YouTube.
Earlier this summer while on vacation in Peru, graduate student Troy Alexander fell in love with the Amazon rainforest, and on his return asked an advisor at Georgia Tech if he could take a leave of absence and return to Peru as volunteer researcher. Three weeks later, Alexander found himself on a plane heading back South America to begin work for the Tambopata Macaw Project which focuses on parrot biology and conservation. It was a decision that would lead to his potential discovery of a new species of life, or at least one so rare nobody has a clue what it is.
While assisting with the project, Alexander stumbled onto fascinating structures attached to tree trunks, including a blue tarp that appeared to have been built by a spider or insect. The artistic organism had constructed a protective barrier around its egg sac complete with evenly placed vertical supports and perfectly parallel strands of webbing that unmistakably mimics a white picket fence. Though he had no idea what built it, he snapped a few photos, hoping that when he got home an entomologist would help him zero in on the moth or spider responsible and that would be the end of the story.
Weeks after his return, Alexander hoped for a quick ID by posting a photos to Reddit’s popular “whatsthisbug” subreddit where biologists and experts in both insects and arachnids were all stumped. He says the photos have now been viewed “by the professional entomologists moderating Whatsthisbug, but also entomologists at Cal Tech, Georgia Tech, Rice University, the Smithsonian Institute, and more… [but] still no definite confirmation.” Some suspect that it could be something similar to the
Ribbed-Cocoon Maker Moth which also builds a protective structure, but nothing so distinct as this fence.
Scientists estimate there are still millions of undiscovered plant and animal species on Earth, so it’s no surprise that there are still plenty of undiscovered lifeforms out there, it’s just amazing that something so creative has never been documented before. (via Why Evolution is True)