Every 26 seconds, a kid drops out of high school in America. Will you help lower the high school drop out rate? Merit creates fashionable products that help disadvantaged youth get to college by donating 20% of everything – not just profits, but the entire revenue line – to fund college scholarships.
In addition, Merit also provides resources and opportunities for underserved youth to gain college admission. They have launched FATE, their very own mentorship and education enrichment program with the Jalen Rose Leadership Academy, to help prepare underserved youth to embrace their education and become world-class citizens.
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This impeccably detailed ceramic sculpture called Cycles of Decay was created by ceramicist Christopher David White who works out of Bloomington, Indiana. Even on close inspection the knotted and twisting veins of the tree branch look almost exactly like old wood, take a closer look on his website. (via sweet station)
I’m a huge fan of alternative Christmas trees in urban centers, from last year’s plastic bottle tree in Lithuania to the abstract tree currently up in Brussels, any idea seems better than heading out to the local forest and hacking down a pine tree older than my grandparents. This year in Hasselt, Belgium a pair from the design firm Mooz created this concept of an enormous tree covered in 5,000 pieces of ceramic donated from local residents. Called the “Taste Tree” the piece was meant to be a sort of communal celebration as residents were invited to contribute unused dishes to the tree that now stands nearly 30 ft. tall in Hassel’s main square. (via designboom)
Using a rotring pen on white paper, Cornwall-based artist Mark Lascelles Thornton has embarked on a massive architectural drawing project called the The Happiness Machine. Each panel represents a stylized red and grayscale representation of architectural highlights from eight locations, so far including Chicago, New York, London and what appears to be a mix of Asian skyscrapers (Taipei, Kuala Lumpur, etc.). In addition to the meticulous detail of the buildings and clouds, the piece is all the more incredible considering its scale: the final piece will include eight panels spanning 8 ft. by 5 ft. (2.4 m. x 1.5 m.). The images here are great but you can see everything in much more detail over on his Tumblr. (via devid sketchbook)
These beautiful and other-worldly photographs of ice were taken last year by University of Washington graduate student Jeff Bowman and his professor Jody Deming while they worked on a study combining oceanography, microbiology, and planetary sciences in the central Arctic Ocean as part of the Integrated Graduate Education and Research Training (IGERT) program. Their single focus was the study of frost flowers, a strange phenomenon where frost grows from imperfections in the surface ice amid extreme sub-zero temperatures nearing -22C or -7.6F, forming spiky structures that have been found to house microorganisms. In fact, the bacteria found in the frost flowers is much more dense than in the frozen water below it, meaning each flower is essentially a temporary ecosystem, not unlike a coral reef. Via IGERT:
Around their research icebreaker in the central Arctic Ocean new ice grows on long open cracks that network amongst the thick floes of pack ice. Abruptly the surface of this new ice changes texture. The cold, moist air above the open cracks becomes saturated and frost begins to form wherever an imperfection can be found on the ice surface. From these nucleation points the flower-like frost structures grow vertically, quickly rising to centimeters in height. The hollow tendrils of these “frost flowers” begin to wick moisture from the ice surface, incorporating salt, marine bacteria, and other substances as they grow. The fog dissipates and the Arctic sun lights the surface of the frost flowers, initiating a cascade of chemical reactions. These reactions can produce formaldehyde, deplete ozone, and actually alter the chemical composition of the lower atmosphere. [...] Bowman and Deming have discovered that bacteria are consistently more abundant in frost flowers than in sea ice. Since microscopic pockets in sea ice are known to support an active community of psychrophiles (cold-loving microorganisms), even in the coldest months of the year, these results are encouraging.
Bowman and Deming are currently building an ultra-clean chamber where they can grow artificial frost flowers and hope that their research leads to a better understanding of how life might be able to survive in extreme conditions elsewhere in the universe. Amazing! Photos by Matthias Wietz. (via the daily what)
The medium of choice for artist Robert Wechsler is U.S. pennies, tens of thousands of which (the largest uses 26,982 coins) he has carefully cut and assembled into a latticework forming perfect cubes. Weschler says of the penny:
With fifty billion currently in circulation, the penny is one of humanity’s most numerous objects, but despite its commonality, it is an extraordinarily rich artifact. As a symbol of American culture, it is on par with the Statue of Liberty. It is a monument to a beloved president. It is a proclamation of a national faith and creed. It is a time stamped record of our civilization. As much ornament as legal tender, the penny is equal parts form and function. It defines elegance just as its ubiquity, low monetary value, and high symbolic value defines humility.
Fine artist and designer INSA creates elaborately painted walls that are photographed in sequence to create these amazing, psychedelic animated gifs. His latest piece (top 3 images) is a collaboration with artist Stanley Donwood called Hollywood Dooom to help celebrate the release of a new album for Atoms for Peace, AMOK, for which Donwood did the album artwork. INSA painted the entire exterior of XL Recordingsfour times to create the frames for the animation. Of the work he says:
My challenge was to take two very static items, a beautiful lino-cut and a less beautiful box of a building, and bring them to life. After a week of sweating in the Los Angeles late summer sun re-painting the whole building several times I got there. Animated as a continuous GIF it may only live online but some would argue that is where most now live there lives…
Since 2006 Pittsburgh-based husband and wife Paul Roden and Valerie Lueth have run the Tugboat Printshop, a traditional printmaking studio where everything is made by hand, starting with the giant slabs of wood into which each of their images are carved. The Moon is their largest hand-carved relief print ever coming in at 36″ x 32″ (91 x 82 cm) and will printed using two colors. If you’re interested they documented the process of carving the beautiful illustration which is now available for pre-order, and I also recommend checking out their other prints. (via cloud junky)