Amazing

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Amazing Design

Handmade Paper Toys by Haruki Nakamura Spring, Fold, and Jump into Action

November 16, 2018

Laura Staugaitis

Japanese paper engineer Haruki Nakamura (previously) continues to design delightful toys using simple materials. A friendly armadillo curls into a self-protective ball at the touch of a finger, and a sleepy boy emerges, ready to sleepwalk, in “Astral Projection.” Nakamura uses rubber bands and carefully held points of paper tension to spark the jumpy movements of his characters, and sells kits so you can make your own endless entertainment. The artist only sells within Japan on his website, but this Penguin Bomb toy is available on Amazon.

 

 



Amazing

A Specially Adapted Underwater Wheelchair Brings Artist Sue Austin Beneath the Earth’s Surface

November 16, 2018

Laura Staugaitis

British artist Sue Austin creates multimedia, performance, and installation art, using her wheelchair as a means to explore new patterns of movement. In 2012, Austin was commissioned to create a series of multimedia events as part of that year’s Cultural Olympiad, in conjunction with the 2012 Olympics and Paralympics. The result, titled “Creating the Spectacle!” is a spectacular immersive dance performance and underwater exploration, which was shot near Sharm el Sheik, Egypt by Norman Lomax of Moving Content. You can watch a portion of the film below.

In the film, Austin uses her arms to guide her through the water, and she wears a summery dress with her long hair flowing freely, as she navigates through schools of fish and past massive coral reefs. Her underwater wheelchair is adapted from a standard-issue National Health Service chair, with battery powered propellers and perspex aerofoils to control turns. Austin hopes that the adaptations will be more widely available at diving centers in the future to make diving more inclusive.

A statement on her website explains, “she aims to find dramatic and powerful ways to re-position disability and Disability Arts as the ‘Hidden Secret’. She argues that this ‘secret’, if explored, valued and then shared, can act to heal the divisions created in the social psyche by cultural dichotomies that define the ‘disabled’ as ‘other’.”

Austin first performed with her underwater wheelchair in Dorset, U.K. in 2012, and has since performed, shown films, and spoken around the world about her art practice. You can learn more about Austin and her organization Freewheeling, on her website, and watch her TED Talk here. (via #WOMENSART)

 

 



Amazing Design Science

System 001: An Innovative Design to Remove Plastic From the Ocean has Been Deployed off the Coast of California

October 26, 2018

Laura Staugaitis

Founded in 2013 by 18-year-old (at the time) inventor Boyan Slat, The Ocean Cleanup is a nonprofit organization that’s working to clean up our oceans by removing plastic. After five years of rigorous design and testing, the Cleanup’s cleaning apparatus, called System 001, has been deployed off the coast of California.

System 001 is a passive collection apparatus that works by moving in tandem with the ocean’s currents, taking advantage of the water’s circular movement patterns, called gyres, that cause the trash to accumulate in the first place. The Ocean Cleanup points out that 92% of the debris in the Patch is still large enough to be collected using the System’s large suspended net, and it’s critical to remove this plastic now before it degrades into microplastics that enter the food chain. Because of the net’s passive, slow-moving design, the group has reported that it has not caused animals to get caught, presumably because they have sufficient time and space to navigate away from the debris-funneling nets.

While the organization has global aspirations and an international team (the founder is Dutch), their first focus is on the massive Pacific Garbage Patch, which floats in the ocean between California and Hawaii. The Pacific Garbage Patch is the largest aquatic aggregation of trash in the world, first recognized thirty years ago. It is estimated to contain about 80,000 metric tons of garbage spanning 5.2 billion square feet (nearly a million square miles). Ocean Cleanup’s boat, the Maersk Launcher, towed the System 1,200 miles from Alameda to begin its work.

You can see a live update of the System’s location and learn more about The Ocean Cleanup on the organization’s website, as well as on Twitter and Instagram.

  

 

 



Amazing Design Food

Watch How Steel Ribbons Are Shaped into Cookie Cutters

September 12, 2018

Laura Staugaitis

CookieCutter.com makes and sells exactly what you think they do. The Missouri-based company uses a combination of hydraulic and hand-operated machines to shape steel ribbons into classic shapes like gingerbread men, along with more complicated designs like deer and even the Statue of Liberty. The methodical push and pull of the shaping devices makes for great visual fodder, and CookieCutter.com frequently shares their process videos on Instagram and Facebook.

 

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Amazing

Cut Paper Zoetrope Reveals the Life Cycle of a Butterfly as it Rotates

August 29, 2018

Kate Sierzputowski

Dutch artist Veerle Coppoolse examines the life cycle of a butterfly in a handcrafted zoetrope built from finely cut paper. The analogue animation brings the metamorphosis of the extraordinary insect to life, presenting its transformation from cocoon-wrapped caterpillar to a butterfly in flight. The grey and white paper animation is a mock-up for a larger model Coppoolse is currently seeking funding for on the Netherlands-based crowdfunding site Voordekunst. She hopes to build a cocoon-shaped machine that will spin guests around the paper work to create an animation, rather than producing movement from the zoetrope itself. You can follow the process behind Coppoolse’s human-powered metamorphosis attraction on Instagram.

 

 



Amazing Photography

A Mother Duck and Her Extraordinary Brood of 76 Ducklings Photographed in a Minnesota Lake

August 1, 2018

Kate Sierzputowski

All images © Brent Cizek

Minnesota-based wildlife photographer Brent Cizek was headed back to shore before a summer storm when he spotted the common merganser he would later nickname “Momma Merganser.” At first the mother duck was being followed by a brood of more than 50 fluffy ducklings, however when spotted the group again, the total had grown to 76.

“I happened to find this group of mergansers purely by luck, but I was absolutely amazed by what I saw,” Cizek tells Colossal. “At the time I didn’t know anything about the species, so I wasn’t sure if what I witnessed was a common occurrence or something out of the ordinary. All I knew was that I had never seen anything like that before.”

The scene is extraordinary indeed. Although the aquatic birds are known to lay their eggs in the nests of other ducks, a female duck can only incubate 20 at any given time explains Kenn Kaufman, field editor for AudubonIt is most likely that several dozen of the ducklings lost their mothers and were adopted into Momma Merganser’s own brood.

Cizek plans to continue following the extra large family, and posts his findings to on Instagram. To learn more about merganser habits, read the National Audubon Society’s piece on the surprising spectacle. (via Laughing Squid)

 

 



Amazing Science

Watch Amazonian Butterflies Take Sips of a Turtle’s Salty Tears

July 25, 2018

Laura Staugaitis

Entomologist and adventurer Phil Torres hosts a popular YouTube Channel, The Jungle Diaries, where he shares insights and observations from his travels to remote areas around the world. Recently, a trip to the Peruvian Amazon afforded footage of eight different butterfly species alighting on turtles to drink their tears. The phenomenon occurs because the sodium in the tears is a vital part of the butterflies’ diet that’s not readily available in the foods they consume. The search for sodium is actually quite common in the wild, and is also sourced from jaguar feces and river mud, as Torres notes.

You can follow along with more of Torres’s discovery-filled travels on Instagram and Twitter. Also check out photographer Mark Cowan’s amazing snapshot of a caiman sporting a crown of tear-drinking butterflies from 2016. (via Lustik)

 

 

 

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Animal Multi-Tool