Showing posts with label future. Show all posts
Showing posts with label future. Show all posts

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Our New Normal: 9 Reasons to Get Up About Global Warming

GetUp, an independent community advocacy organisation aiming to "build a more progressive Australia by giving everyday Australians the opportunity to get involved and hold politicians accountable on important issues" has published this Infographics titled 'Our New Normal' with some alarming facts about the status of global warming. Here are 9 reasons why it's actually all of us, not just Australians, who need to get up:

  • 1. The hottest average maximum temperature ever recorded across Australia – 40.33 degrees, was set on Monday surpassing the old record of 40.17 °C set in 1976. (Bureau of Meteorology) 
  • 2. The number of consecutive days where the national average maximum daily temperature exceeded 39°C has also been broken this week—seven (7) days (between 2–8 January 2013), almost doubling the previous record of four (4) consecutive days in 1973, (BOM) 
  • 3. According to the National Climate Data Centre, nine of the 10 hottest years on record have been since 2000 (the other is 1998). 
  • 4. While temperatures vary on a local and regional scale, globally it has now been 27 years since the world experienced a month that was colder than average. "If you’re 27 or younger, you’ve never experienced a colder-than-average month" - Philip Bump, Grist, November 16, 2012. 
  • 5. The CSIRO has found Australian annual average daily maximum temperatures have steadily increased in the last hundred years, with most of the warming trend occurring since 1970. 
  • 6. The Bushfire CRC (Cooperative Research Centre) says large areas of southern Australia, from the east coast to the west coast, face “above average fire potential” in the summer of 2012-13. According to the Climate Institute extreme fire danger days are expected to rise more than 15 per cent in south-eastern Australia. 
  • 7. The last four months of 2012 - globally - were the hottest on record. (British Met Office) and 2012 was the hottest year the continental United States of America has ever recorded.("2012 Was the Hottest Year in U.S. History. And Yes - It's Climate Change", Bryan Walsh, TIME 8 January, 2013). 
  • 8. The hot-dry trend is expected to continue, with the Climate Commission predicting large increases in the number of days over 35°C this century. 
  • 9. Around the world, 2013 could be the hottest ever recorded by modern instrumentation, according to a recent study by Britain’s Met Office. If that turns out to be accurate, 2013 would surpass the previous record, held jointly by 2005 and 2010.

Not convinced yet? Check out the GetUp site.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Handmade Craftivism: 3 Ways to More Precious and Less Ultra-Slick Stuff for Kids

Handmade Cfaftivism: 3 Ways to More Precious and Less Ultra-Slick Stuff for Kids

By nitsanbmg

Could handmade products be the new avant-garde of modern design? It may be the irrepressible inflation economy, or the fact people are fed up with their children playing with lead-tainted toys such as My Baby brand silicone pacifier, but it seems that handmade is a new trend. According to The Statement, with their often "loosely constructed and decidedly amateurish-looking look" handmade products find their way to shops like Urban Outfitters as well as to upscale firms such as furniture designer Donghia. In contrast to "ultra-slick, high-touch and high-performance" products, people look at handmade things as "infinitely more precious than all the ultra-slick stuff". They do so, because handmade reflects honesty and authenticity, or in The Statement's words: "speak of our humanity in a time when people are being replaced by machines".

Handmade is not just a fashion trend but also a form of Craftivism or a way to improve life and the world at large. Ask anyone of more than 29,000 people who already took the pledge to buy handmade this holiday season and ask others to do the same for them. Read Why Buy Handmade for more details or simply enjoy the following works of three creative mother artists who make spectacular handmade and personally customized products for children. A little less ultra-slick, maybe, but definitely more precious.

Jasmin Sasky: Personalized Canvas Portraits

Jasmin Sasky: Personalized Canvas Portraits

Born and raised in Buenos Aires, Argentina and artistically educated in Israel, Jasmine Sasky is a fascinating Canadian illustrator, painter and clay sculptress. While some of her comissioned paintings are displayed at children hospitals, schools, private clinics and restaurants across North America, Sasky has recently ignitioned a new service she calls "Personalized Canvas Portraits".

Personalized Canvas Portraits: Maya's canvas

The Personalized Canvas Portrait process is simple: parents email Sasky a photo of their child and list special traits, hobbies and background preferences. She then replies with a sketch, receives approval and start painting. Sasky uses mixed media meterials including oil pastels, dry pastels, acrylics, glitter and embellishments. All paintings are then covered with a final clear coat for extra-ptotection.

Personalized Canvas Portraits: Maya in her room

Each of Sasky's kid portraits is a unique and special work of art with no duplicated copy anywhere in the world. Isn't that the most fantastic way for a parent to treat a child with a non-commercial non-mass-produced present that will last for lifetime? It is, if you ask Maya, shown above, with her beautiful blond curls and personal customized canvas. Always cheerful and happy as a bee...

Personalized Canvas Portraits: Yoel and Eitan

Another great example is the double portrait of Yoel and Eitan. They love the movie Toy Story but also are great fans of dressing up as pirates and cowboys.

Personalized Canvas Portraits: Kiara and Cienna

Kiara and Cienna love fairy tails and butterflies. Same as with Yoel and Eitan, dressing up (with skirts that can spin around them) is also part of their world. Their favorite colors are pink and purple.

Personalized Canvas Portraits: Camille

Camille as a "sweet" character taken from a children book: Being Camille the middle child of three, her parents asked for her character to be placed in the center of the painting, with her beloved brothers showing in the background. In her arms Camille holds the family pet.

Personalized Canvas Portraits: Katy

Katy's mom asked to match the painting colors with Katy's room color and decoration. So, the color palette here is of pink, magenta, light turquoise and polka dots in black and white. The result is in a perfect match with an interesting color scheme. For more:

Lizette Greco: Stuffed Dolls based on Kid Drawings

Lizette Greco creates custom hand-made dolls based on children's drawings with her young daughter and son. The dolls are made using only thrifted and recycled materials aiming to "create artwork that celebrates a child's perspective of the world and will hopefully be passed from generation to generation." Some of this perspective is, well, clearly shown in the above 'Bigfoot Inside and Out' made with recycled and thrifted fabrics to "consume less and recycle more" and Sixfoot Cyclops (below) - thrifted fabric, recycled polyfill stuffing based on original drawing by six-year-old boy.

Lizette Greco: Stuffed Dolls based on Kid Drawings

Greco accepts commissions for artwork using ("only") your children's drawings. You children don't draw so nicely? No problem. Greco's eight and nine-year-old artist team will get in the mood just for you.

Lizette Greco: Colorful Bunny

Colorful Bunny: thrifted fabrics, linen lint stuffing, original drawing by five-year-old boy.

Lizette Greco: Svea's doll

A little girl named Svea turned 5. As she happens to be a very good friend with the Greco's, Svea was lucky enough to receive the above super-personalized doll based on one of her drawings, of course. The doll comes in its own customized box and includes a few trading cards...

Lizette Greco: Bird

Bird, based on Lizette's son drawing, is covered with lines and wiggles. According to Lizette, translating this drawing into a "softie" was harder than the usual. "The lines needed to be seen and appreciated, so embroidering made sense." For more:

MyKangaroo: Handmade Shaped Crayons

MyKangaroo: Handmade Shaped Crayons

Crayons can be creative in many ways but this particular neat venture is clearly part of the new customization-personalization trend. With MyKangaroo you can personalize a gift using your child's name or even create a special message. Each personalized Your Name in Crayons set (above) can include up to 9 letters and is packaged in a cute tin with paper inside.

MyKangaroo: HAPPY BIRTHDAY spelled out in assorted colored crayons

Above: HAPPY BIRTHDAY spelled out in assorted colored crayons. Includes a 1 1/2 inch crayon shaped gift. Letters are 1/2 inch tall.

MyKangaroo: 5 spooky Halloween crayons

This set comes with 5 spooky Halloween crayons. Get one witch hat, cat, pumpkin, owl and haunted house in the price of one. Sizes vary in shape but are approximately 1.5 to 2 inches.

MyKangaroo: more crayon patterns

Nearly every pattern you can think of is an option here and possibilities are endless. Above are a few more interesting patterns.

MyKangaroo: How it's done

How it's done, in case you'd like to try for yourself.

MyKangaroo: The Jewel Crayon set

MyKangaroo: The Jewel Crayon set

It appears that not only we at CultCase think MyKangaroo are awesome. When The Jewel Crayon set was featured on Etsy Finds, a popular section on Etsy website, the orders, according to the official MyKangaroo blog, just "came pouring in". Above you can see what success looks like (in craftivism business...) Way to go MyKangaroos! For more:

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

The 1000 Genomes Project: The Most Detailed Map of Human Genetic Variation

The 1000 Genomes Project: The Most Detailed Map of Human Genetic Variation

Mankind took a major step today as an ambitious effort codenamed The 1000 Genomes Project involving sequencing the genomes of at least a thousand people from around the world was announced in England. The 1000 Genomes Project will create "the most detailed and medically useful picture to date of human genetic variation". Multidisciplinary research teams participating in the 1000 Genomes Project will develop a mapped view of biomedically relevant DNA variations "at a resolution unmatched by current resources". According to the official announcement data from The 1000 Genomes Project will be shared with the worldwide scientific community through freely accessible public databases.

Richard Durbin, Ph.D., of the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute and co-chair of the consortium

The The 1000 Genomes Project is supported by the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute in Hinxton, England, the Beijing Genomics Institute, Shenzhen (BGI Shenzhen) in China and the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Richard Durbin, Ph.D., of the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute and co-chair of the consortium (in the above photo) explains why this was unthinkable only two years ago:
"The 1000 Genomes Project will examine the human genome at a level of detail that no one has done before. Such a project would have been unthinkable only two years ago. Today, thanks to amazing strides in sequencing technology, bioinformatics and population genomics, it is now within our grasp. So we are moving forward to build a tool that will greatly expand and further accelerate efforts to find more of the genetic factors involved in human health and disease."

NHGRI Director Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D. explains what are the new possibilities may be following this amazing breakthrough:

"This new project will increase the sensitivity of disease discovery efforts across the genome five-fold and within gene regions at least 10-fold. Our existing databases do a reasonably good job of cataloguing variations found in at least 10 percent of a population. By harnessing the power of new sequencing technologies and novel computational methods, we hope to give biomedical researchers a genome-wide map of variation down to the 1 percent level. This will change the way we carry out studies of genetic disease."

The 1000 Genomes Project

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Concern in Jerusalem

Dennis Haysbert as David Palmer. convincing and promising

It was on November 6, 2001 when Fox Network launched their later to be Emmy and Golden Globe award-winner TV series 24 and the idea of an Afro-American president to the USA was still a futuristic "what if" Hollywood experiment. Dennis Haysbert looked convincing and promising as David Palmer, commander of the world's most powerful armed forces. But it was just a TV series.

Concern in Jerusalem: Obama Gets Closer to PresidencyIn just a few hours from now Air Force 1 will be landing in Ben Gurion airport and I wonder if it might has anything to do with the fact that today, six years and two months of George W Bush later, Israel's second popular daily newspaper Maariv had the front page of its print version covered with one of the most amazingly ridicules titles any Israeli daily ever came up with.

A scan is here on the left but as you probably can't read Hebrew I'll freely translate it. It says "Concern in Jerusalem: Obama Gets Closer to Presidency". Concern in Jerusalem??! I know for some, perhaps most, Israelis saying goodbye to George and his - how shall I put it - "approach" towards the Palestinian issue, Middle East and conflicts in general must be sad. I know Obama is Afro-American. I know he is a democrat. But concern? It sounds a bit dangerous when Israel is "concerned" over something, isn't it?

My guess is that someone at Maariv came up with an idea to use this half-threat half-complaint and convince Americans they just have to make this minor adjustment to their constitution and have George elected for just four more years. Otherwise we'll all be far more concerned soon. We might all have a Palmer-Obama as our next commander of armed forces and he might just not like using them as much as we want him to.

That would be horrible. It might end up with a little peace in the Middle East.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

OpenSocial Alliance is here. Social Internet has changed.

It was just the end of October this year when we learned about another open standard alliance led by Google a move that was described as a "FaceBook killer". OpenSocial provides a common set of Application Interface (API) tools for social applications across multiple websites. With standard JavaScript and HTML, developers can now create rich interactive web applications, accessing data from other social networks, update feeds and create new mashed-up content.

Aiming for every social driven and user generated content website out there to implement the new standards, the OpenSocial alliance seek to change the way people are interacting with each other on the internet by removing some of the boundaries set by a chaosed freedom and commercial interests. Websites already implementing the new OpenSocial tools include highly popular websites such as MySpace,, Friendster, hi5, LinkedIn, Ning, Oracle and Orkut. Members of the alliance also include Plaxo,, Six Apart, Tianji, Viadeo, XING and many others. See them all here or check on the video below for interviews with some of OpenSocuial early industry adapters.

Google’s own social network, Orkut, is of course the one that Interests them most but a-la Google's style this is used mainly to give (a limited sandbox for OpenSocial development) rather than take (users from other websites by closing their cross platform communications capabilities). Furthermore, unlike Facebook which uses a proprietary language for their widgets, once you chose developing your new widget with OpenSocial you are totally free to use the best stuff Internet has to offer nowadays including Flash, html and javascript, or in other words - Ajax.

Even though latest figures show the impact on FaceBook's application market is yet minor, the OpenSocial alliance is just one of those things we can't understand how they did not exist until they did and it seems that Google just changed the rules of the game once again. Social Internet has changed. Adding the numbers and including the vast member pool of MySpace - FaceBook's mightiest competitor and an avid OpenSocial integrator - we get a "completely different picture of the combined OpenSocial sites compared to Facebook". A swift look at the above chart posted about a month an a half ago by Bill Tancer, General Manager of Global Research at Hitwise, tells the whole story in short: FaceBook - you took the closed course and got knocked out by the open one. Just like your Microsoft partner.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Mini Low Carbonfootprint Hanuka Menorah with Superbright leds

Of all the somewhat crazy kinda cute but still cool things I saw on shops this Hanuka this electronic soldering kit for 5 mm LED mini-menorahs is my winner for this year. Available for all-affordable $10 you might still have enough time to order one of those low carbonfootprint mini-menorah and save the planet. Available in with LED color choices of "Superbright blue" or "Superbright white".

The Evilmad scientists say "assembly is easy with the included comic-book Menorah Instructions (400 kB PDF document, screenshot above). And just FYI: Miniature 3 mm LED sets have already sold out. I guess the cool Superbright yellows in the picture have also disappeared from the shelves.

Happy Hanuka everyone!
Via badbanana

Friday, November 30, 2007

2007 International Robot Exhibition: seeing the light in the practical use of robots

We all got used to the vast difference between the kind of future Hollywood has been promising us for years and what this future looks like today. Can any of us have a fun ride on one of those cool personal flying vehicles we seen so many times? Has any of us beamed himself from work to the gym lately? I don't think so. Most of us are still driving fuel engine highly polluting wheels and the future is not really here, but still, it seems to be getting at least a bit closer. In contrast to most robots any of us ever saw and even to the extravagant showcase they put up in 2005, the 2007 International Robot Exhibition opened this Wednesday in Tokyo Japan emphasizes real usage options of robots and features quite a few of them designed to be used in everyday life.

Tatsuo Matsuzaki, an official at Kokoro Company Ltd., showing off a dental patient robot named Simroid that mumbles a Humanoidic "ouch" when the drill hits a nerve (see video below), says we can already "see the light in the practical use of robots". Shoichi Hamada, a senior official at the Japan Robot Association said that two years after the 2005 Expo which showed "the future of life with robots" we have no came to a point where it's time to see how we can actually use them. "Now practical application of robots is in sight," Hamada told AFP. "Many companies here are in a position to let people see what the robots can actually do at this stage of technology."

Approximately 200 companies and more than 50 future looking organizations from across the world are taking part in the four days event, practically the most interesting robot show anyone can offer nowadays. According to a recent report by Macquarie Bank quoted in TechnologyReview Japan is an industrial robot powerhouse, with over 370,000 in use in 2005 about 40 percent of the global total and 32 robots for every 1,000 Japanese manufacturing employees.

Soon coming robots according to
  • Steps: Honda has a humanoid that can run up stairs
  • Exercise: The National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology has designed a robot that can demonstrate exercises
  • Guide: Hitachi has a robot that uses sophisticated radar to lead visitors through crowds to their destination
  • Safety: Taisei has a robot that will enter a building and remove asbestos by remote control
  • Nurse: The University of Shiga is close to perfecting a robot that lifts people from beds into wheelchairs. The Riken Research Institute is developing an endoscopic surgery robot that follows voice commands to pass instruments to the human surgeon
  • Words: The National Institute of Information and Communications Technology has a robot capable of learning sign language. Tokyo University of Science has built one capable of reproducing mouth movements and should, researchers say, soon be able to mimic human speech