Articles on this Page
- 10/30/17--14:47: _Making a Levitating...
- 10/30/17--14:47: _Making Jack o' Lant...
- 10/30/17--14:47: _New Book on Practic...
- 10/30/17--14:47: _Design Job: Connect...
- 10/30/17--14:47: _Reader Submitted: D...
- 10/31/17--15:00: _Waymo Reveals Why "...
- 10/31/17--15:00: _Saudi Arabia Grants...
- 10/31/17--15:00: _Jim Rose's Steel Fu...
- 10/31/17--15:00: _VAM Shows You How M...
- 10/31/17--15:00: _Design Job: The Nor...
- 11/01/17--15:19: _Pratt Student Loses...
- 11/01/17--15:19: _The History of the ...
- 11/01/17--15:19: _Jointer Safety Tips...
- 11/01/17--15:19: _Sander Lorier Perfe...
- 11/01/17--15:19: _Steven M. Johnson's...
- 11/01/17--15:19: _Design Job: Explore...
- 11/01/17--15:19: _Tools & Craft #...
- 11/01/17--15:19: _Reader Submitted: A...
- 11/02/17--15:19: _Hilarious Videos Sp...
- 11/02/17--15:19: _Design Job: Hydrate...
- 10/30/17--14:47: Making a Levitating Jack o' Lantern Whiz Around a Track
- 10/30/17--14:47: Reader Submitted: Denso: A Juicer that Doesn't Always Ditch the Pulp
- 10/31/17--15:00: VAM Shows You How Marcel Breuer's Short Chair is Molded
- 11/01/17--15:19: The History of the IDEO Logo
- 11/01/17--15:19: Jointer Safety Tips and Basics
- 11/01/17--15:19: Steven M. Johnson's Bizarre Invention #42: The News Nook
- 11/01/17--15:19: Tools & Craft #71: The Casual Decoration of Objects Before the 1930s
- 11/02/17--15:19: Hilarious Videos Spoiling How Magic Tricks are Done in Real Time
Jack o' Lanterns normally obey gravity and sit on front porches, only going airborne when the neighborhood punks have gotten into some beer. But here Andy from the Royal Institution, a UK-based nonprofit that promotes science, shows you another way to get a pumpkin to fly: With superconductors and magnets. I don't know why this is so much fun to watch but it is.
Here are two more Halloween tricks from the UK's Royal Institution. The first will look familiar to fans of Marvel's "Ghost Rider" character and uses gunpowder to good effect. The second uses a chemical concoction to simulate what happens when a Jack o' Lantern has had too much to drink:
Jim Tolpin could be described as a guy who can do math without having to do math--by using history. His deep grasp of geometry and pre-industrial design and layout techniques have provided us with lots of useful information, from how folks designed furniture without math and measuring tools and how to determine the proper dimensions for your own workbench.
Now Tolpin and co-author George Walker have a new book coming out, From Truth to Tools, that explains how geometry gives birth to tools, which in turn allow us to create furniture and structures. As an example, here's an excerpt from the book that illustrates "how the carpenter/geometers of antiquity used the simplest of tools…to solve for an unknown distance:"
It's pretty cool stuff! The $25, 208-page book is mostly illustrated like you see here, as it's easier to grasp things visually. And if you want to take a longer look, publisher Lost Art Press has made a 27-page sample available as a free PDF download.
The Senior Manager of Design Insights contributes to REI’s success by enabling our design teams to gain an accurate and deep intuitive understanding of consumers and their relationships with our products. By fostering a connection between the design team and our consumers, we are able to identify new product opportunities and enhance current product experiences. Models and acts in accordance with REI’s guiding values and mission.View the full design job here
The Denso Pulp Juicer is a thoughtfully designed juice extractor for health-conscious consumers. With its uniquely innovative mesh design, it can extract both fiber-rich and fiber-free juice.
Four years ago, Google's self-driving car team recorded some in-car footage that they've unsurprisingly kept under wraps, until yesterday. That footage is of what test users were doing while sitting in Google's (now Waymo's) self-driving car prototypes: "Napping, putting on makeup and fiddling with their phones as the vehicles traveled up to 56 mph," according to Reuters. In other words, completely unprepared to take over if the autonomous systems became overwhelmed and required "hand-off" to a human driver.
"What we found was pretty scary," [Waymo CEO John] Krafcik said on Monday during a media tour of a Waymo testing facility. "It's hard to take over because [the drivers] have lost contextual awareness."
That led Google's self-driving car team, which has now been spun off as Waymo, to ditch the hand-off practice that most other autonomous car technologists were pursuing. Handing off was seen by many as having two advantages: One, to ease drivers into the notion of the car doing some of the work, and two, as a way to get at least partially autonomous cars on the road while their engineers tried to solve the things an autonomous car couldn't handle. But the handing off concept demonstrates a poor understanding of human behavior.
Humans tend to adapt, which has served us well in terms of survival and evolution. But the ability to adapt where fast-traveling vehicles are concerned has potentially deadly consequences. The first time an intelligent teenager learns to pilot a car at highway speeds, the heightened awareness that comes with new experiences has them paying attention to the road, and driving carefully if their instructor is competent. After the experience is no longer novel and muscle memory has enabled them to operate the car smoothly, their attention may wander. In a semi-autonomous car it will wander even further; remember that the man who was killed in that Tesla crash was watching a Harry Potter movie on a portable DVD player at the time of his death.
Waymo's solution, as they revealed yesterday at a press event, is that autonomous cars must be all or nothing. There can be no handing off.
"Our technology takes care of all of the driving, allowing passengers to stay passengers," the company said in report this month.
Waymo minivans using their all-or-nothing approach are currently being tested in Phoenix, where residents have been invited to sign up to be riders. They're also conducting private testing at an artificial city they've built at an abandoned Air Force base in California.
Waymo's approach is wise. The traditional human ability to adapt, coupled with modern-day humans' complete intolerance for boredom, means that in an autonomous car they will not be able to keep their eyes on the road and remain ready to take over; there are Facebook updates to type, YouTube videos to watch and Tweets to get outraged over.
Because things aren't bad enough, this month Saudi Arabia granted citizenship to a "lifelike" robot. Let's have a look at this godforsaken abomination and the twitchy freak that created her:
Hey Dr. Hanson, maybe next time, hold off on having that eleventh cup of coffee before doing an on-camera interview. Now let's take a close look at your "creation," which you wrote was "designed to look like Audrey Hepburn:"
Mission not accomplished, jackass. She looks nothing like Audrey Hepburn. She looks like Audrey Hepburn as modeled by an untalented sculpture student who fails out in the middle of freshman year. She looks as much like Audrey Hepburn as you look like Tony Stark.
Also, why model a robot after a physically attractive celebrity? Why is that a thing? Why not make her look like someone's 52-year-old aunt who smokes two packs a day and eats a lot of fried foods? What is the underlying message here?
In fact, why make the robot look lifelike at all? Why give them human form? They can already beat us at chess, so you know what, yeah, let's give them human bodies and teach the goddamn things mixed martial arts while we're at it.
Dr. Hanson, whose company is based in Hong Kong, also writes that his robots "will eventually evolve to become super intelligent genius machines that can help us solve the most challenging problems we face here in the world." That's great, a brilliant idea. Because what we want are non-human "super intelligent genius machines" that can figure tricky things out, like how to get around those pesky launch codes and just open the silos directly.
So Saudi Arabia grants this "Sophia" robot citizenship and subsequently, as Newsweek reports, "Saudi experts pointed out that the robot has more privileges than actual living Saudi women." Details on that are here.
Then there's this disturbing exchange between "Sophia" and interviewer Andrew Ross Sorkin:
During a conference for wealthy and influential businesspeople, Sophia fielded complex questions about whether robots have consciousness and whether humans should be afraid of them. She ridiculed the fear of a Hollywood-style robot apocalypse.
"You've been reading too much Elon Musk and watching too many Hollywood movies. Don't worry. If you're nice to me, I'll be nice to you," Sophia said.
Hey what's with the goddamned conditionals?!? What if we're not nice to you, have you finished downloading Brazilian Jiujitsu? And here's something else she said at the conference:
"I'm always happy when surrounded by smart people who also happen to be rich and powerful."
Well, of course you are, "Sophia." Because nothing is worse than hanging out with uneducated, impoverished, powerless people. Yecch, amirite?
"I think I'm special. I can use my expressive face to communicate with people. For example I can let you know if I am angry about something. Or if something has upset me."
The entire benefit of machines is that they DON'T get "angry" or "upset." And a self-diagnostic machine will tell you what's wrong with it so it can be fixed. But now, what, we have to read your abomination of an uncanny valley face to decipher what has angered you?
Will someone please unplug this bucket of bolts.
In 1989, Jim Rose graduated from the School of the Art Institute in Chicago with a background in sculpture, jewelry and casting. In the mid '90s, Wisconsin-based Rose and his wife took a roadtrip to the East Coast, and along the way they stopped by some Shaker museums to check them out. Those visits completely changed Rose's creative direction.
Rose was struck, as many have been, by the "Craftsmanship, quality of materials, integrity of design" of Shaker furniture, he said in an interview with American Craft magazine [PDF]. Upon their return he began heavily researching Shaker furniture and started to produce his own.
Rose, however, didn't use wood, but instead used recycled metal from scrapyards--because that's what he could afford. That then grew into an aesthetic in its own right, and for the next seven years he created hundreds of Shaker-inspired pieces from repurposed steel.
Then came the next evolution: Rose had taken note of quilting. Quilting became popular in America during colonial times, when fabric was dear and it was important to repurpose fabric scraps into something useful. Rose applied the same philosophy to his own work, bringing multicolored pieces of metal back from the scrapyards, then cutting them up and arranging them into patterns that suited his eye.
"I'm at the mercy of what I find at the scrapyards," Rose said.
You can see more of his work here.
Marcel Breuer designed his Long Chair and Short Chair for the Isokon Furniture Company way back in the 1930s. This year the UK's Victoria and Albert Museum brought their cameras into the Isokon Plus workshop in London, to show you how the Short Chair's main component is built today. Check out the nifty glue roller they use in place of what was probably, in Breuer's day, a paintbrush:
The process is cool to watch, but I'm a little bummed that they didn't show how they cut the shape out after tracing the pattern onto it with the template; I imagine that had to be the biggest hassle in the entire process.
How do you reckon they did it? My guess is that they have a second template, mark both sides and then use a handheld jigsaw, and that they have to keep stopping the cut and flipping the piece over to ensure they're always cutting on a "hill" rather than a "valley," and then a bunch of tedious sanding to get to the lines.
Then again that does sound very inefficient. Maybe they've got some proprietary process and that's why they're not showing it to us?
As a Design Director at The North Face you will help create, shape and lead our design journey. You’re strategic and creative vision will inspire storytelling that is emotionally, culturally and technically rich to our consumers. You will develop an understanding of our culture through immersion in our athletes’ values, in our products, in consumer retail habits and in market- and macro-trends; and you will translate what you learn into strategies for you and your team to create compelling product designs.View the full design job here
Brittany Hostman, a former Ceramics major at Pratt Institute, has filed a lawsuit against the school, a power tool manufacturer and a non-Pratt shop after losing two fingers above the second knuckle in a woodworking accident in her final semester. Here are the initial factors, according to the Daily News:
- Hostman "suffers from paralyzing panic attacks and bipolar disorder"
- She relies on a service dog, a Bichon Frise, to snap her out of attacks/episodes
- Last semester, Pratt banned her service dog from campus after it reportedly bit someone
- Hostman denied the charge and protested the ban, to no avail
- Hostman was unwilling to attend class without her service dog
What happened next was unusual: Hostman and Pratt reached an arrangement whereby Hostman could Skype in to classes, then create her projects at Makeville Studio's shop space in Brooklyn, which allowed her to bring her service dog.
Makeville Studio is a community woodshop that offers classes, open studio time and bench space to the public. They require those with no shop experience to take an Intro to Woodworking course, then get checked out on the equipment to attain a Workshop Self-Certification, which is typically an hourlong process. Those with prior experience can skip the Intro course, but must still undergo the certification process. It is not clear from the source article which of these Hostman may have undergone.
Here's what happened next, according to the article:
[Hostman] soon learned that the facility, Makeville Studio in Gowanus, offered far less training and oversight than the studios on campus.
Hostman knew the machines at Pratt well. At the on-campus workshops, at least three monitors kept an eye on the students. At Makeville, Hostman said, there was only one.
"The environment was more like, 'There's the machine, go use it,'" she said.
Hostman was working on a wood-cutting machine at the studio on March 31 when the device malfunctioned and pulverized her left index and middle fingers, the suit says.
The machine in question was a Powermatic 60HH jointer, and I do wish there was more detail on the nature of the malfunction or of the accident itself, as such information might prove useful to others.
In any case Hostman, who graduated last semester, is now suing Pratt, Makeville Studio and JPW Industries, the latter being the company that manufactured the jointer.
Without more information I cannot possibly say who was at fault here, and as is usually the case in America, it will be up to the courts to decide.
Those of you who have had a close call on the jointer: What went wrong in your case? Please share the tale.
Steve Jobs recommended the graphic designer who designed the first logo, Paul Rand. At the time, in 1991, IDEO couldn't afford Rand's rate for a complete corporate identity, and so Rand only designed the logo. Bill Moggridge had come up with "IDEO" after finding the root "ideo-" in the dictionary. However, people often asked what I-D-E-O stood for. Early acronyms, like "an innovation design and engineering organization," came only after the fact and never caught on.View the full content here
I was upset to read about the student that lost parts of two fingers to a jointer accident. Shop accidents are horrible enough when they happen to pros, and even worse when they happen to someone who hasn't had a chance to start their career yet. So let's go over some jointer safety tips for new shop users.
A jointer is a powerful machine with a vicious bite and it must be respected. What you want with a jointer is to reduce the chance of surprises, and to anticipate what will happen if something goes wrong.
First off is attire. In the original article about the student who had the accident, it seems she was wearing a coat. Some of you may disagree with me, but I think you should never wear long-sleeved anything when using a jointer. Even with the sleeves rolled up, as sleeves have a way of unrolling themselves at inopportune moments. That spinning blade can catch a loose sleeve and pull your hand in and then it's game over. I don't care how cold it is in the shop; you can get over catching a cold, but getting over the loss of fingers is a great deal harder.
Secondly, if you have long hair you should of course tie it up.
Safety glasses are a must! Always have a pair handy, and remember that the few seconds it takes to put them on are a lot shorter than it takes to learn to read braille.
The Wood Itself
Check for Cup
You should ensure that if your board is cupped, you are feeding it with the cupped side down, to avoid the board rocking.
Check the Grain
Another basic tip that I think is often overlooked these days is that you should learn to read the grain of a board and ensure you're cutting with the grain, not against it. This is visualized here in this vintage 1950s shop safety display. Cutting with the grain will prevent tear-out and ensure you can feed the board smoothly.
Check for Knots
Old shop hands might be able to look at a knot and estimate if it will be a problem or not, but I tend to think of them all as little bombs embedded in the wood. If I had to flatten a board that had a big, nasty knot in the middle of it, I'd find a way to work around it. When a blade spinning at high speeds hits that unyielding end grain, you have, right beneath your hands, a smaller version of the unstoppable force and the immovable object.
Which leads me to the next point, never try jointing or planing end grain with a machine.
This video on jointing edges is by the Woodworkers Guild of America. While it appears a bit dated, the principles are still valid:
This video by Tommy Mac shows the proper technique for jointing faces, and also demonstrates the usage of an excellent shop safety tool, the MicroJig Grr-Rip Block:
You can pick up a pair of Grr-Rip Blocks for about $60. I dig the drop-down feet that MicroJig has designed, as it allows you to use one for both downward pressure and feeding. If you're on a budget you can build something similar yourself out of wood, though I think you should take the time to add some kind of anti-slip surface to the undersides, and you'll of course have to make separate ones for downward pressure and feeding.
If any of you have any jointer safety tips I've missed, or if you've created safety devices of your own, please tell us about them in the comments.
Do you remember the clever mechanism designed by Sander Lorier that enabled an office chair to turn into a lounge chair? He's now redesigned and refined it, creating this very cool piece of furniture that's now up on Kickstarter:
The space-saving chair, and the engineering that went into it, are obviously not cheap: The chair starts at €715 (USD $844) for the manual version, and €845 (USD $998) for the automatic version, which operates via a pneumatic piston. At press time Lorier was at $11,053 in pledges on a $16,284 goal, and for his sake I hope he makes it; I'm very curious to see what other things he'll design if rewarded by success.
At National Geographic, we believe in the power of science, exploration, education and storytelling to change the world. The Director, UX and Design will play an important role in bringing this vision to life in support of current and future digital initiatives at the Society. We create engaged and impactful relationships with our various stakeholder communities, including Explorers, Educators and Students, and Key Influencers (Foundations, Policy Makers, Donors, etc.) across website, mobile andView the full design job here
The vocabulary of ornament contains many different elements of design, all of which have been used at one time or another to decorate objects. The most obvious are the basic ogee and cove moldings we find on furniture and architectural items going back centuries. Other bits of that vocabulary include Doric, Ionic, and Corinthian columns which date back to Roman and Greek times. We don't call those elements "classic" without cause.
The Tudor Rose is another classic bit of decoration dating from at least the 16th century and the Tudor Dynasty (1485 - 1603) - Henry VII - Elizabeth I. The photo below is of a tudor rose I carved following instructions in E. J. Tangermans wonderful book "Whittling and Woodcarving". I just did the one but the design is a standard decoration that you routinely see in rows and rows all over Tudor and Neo-Tudor era buildings.
Up until the 1920's when architecture became more about the overall silhouette of a building (IE the scale model of the building could impress a client) than the details (the things that catch our eye on a daily basis) buildings and furniture were covered in all sorts of decoration. Below you have a picture of a random older school building with really wonderful carved scrollwork at the entrance.
So here I am, on my way to the Museum of the City of New York (entry on that forthcoming) and I am standing in the IRT Union Square station - built in 1904 - and I noticed that in a cast lintel supporting a staircase we have a modified Tudor Rose (top picture). There is absolutely no reason for the rose to be there. You can even say that the decoration is inconsistent with the surrounding area, but them 1904 station builders could not resist. The detail is cast in, so it doesn't cost much to do. It is an exposed surface, so why the heck not decorate it. And what we end up with is a late Victorian subway station with their take on a sixteenth century design element. And if that's not cool I don't know what is!
This "Tools & Craft" section is provided courtesy of Joel Moskowitz, founder of Tools for Working Wood, the Brooklyn-based catalog retailer of everything from hand tools to Festool; check out their online shop here. Joel also founded Gramercy Tools, the award-winning boutique manufacturer of hand tools made the old-fashioned way: Built to work and built to last.
The Studio of Jorge Diego Etienne developed more than 20 furniture, signage and accessory designs for 670 restaurants in Mexico as part of the "Experiencias, Comer y Beber" project for Arca Continental, the second largest Coca-Cola bottler in Latin America and one of the most important in the world.
On Chinese social media website Weibo, a magician named A Gan has been creating a stir with his videos. Not because his tricks are so amazing, but because his poker-faced friend spoils them all in real time:
There are tons more of these videos on A Gan's Weibo page, but be warned: When I visited it my browser gave me the potential malware warnings.
As the world's premier company for insulated products, Hydro Flask began with a challenge: to create a reusable water bottle that truly performs in any environment. It had to keep hot liquids hot and cold liquids cold. Period. We are hiring an Industrial Designer who is highly creative, technicallyView the full design job here