Fourteenth Archive
Items from 8 September 2012 to 28 January 2013

21 January to 28 January 2013

A Japanese teahouse inside a mudboat

This mudboat, which is built on a skeleton of plywood rings, has a base made from mud plaster topped with a roof of shingles. Designed by Terunobu Fujimori, the structure is supported by cables attached to posts, and is accessible only by a ladder. The mudboat was designed as a tea house and has circular windows to allow ventilation to clear away the heat from the stove.


Copyright theft has now moved into the area of architecture with wellknown architect, Zaha Hadid, discovering one of the buildings she designed has been copied. Her original building is under construction in Beijing while the copy is in Chongqing.


Not only a tree but a chair as well For those who enjoy being uncomfortable when they sit

Back to being chairful, on the left is a tree which was prompted to grown into a chair and on the right is the dodecahedronic chair which would be one of the most uncomfortable chairs ever designed.

Safe place for birds

A safe place for a bird house

A basic roof tile has been transformed into a birdhouse by Klaas Kuiken who came up with the design after consultation with the Dutch Bird Association. Behind the opening is a basket where the birds can shelter and which also effectively prevents them from accessing the ceiling area.

17 January to 20 January 2013

Elephant made from discarded furniture by Marc Sparfel

This delightful elephant was created by Frenchman, Marc Sparfel, from discarded furniture he found on the streets of Barcelona. His workshop is filled with masses of broken and derelict pieces of wood which were once a part of an item of furniture. He particularly likes chairs which he pulls to pieces and gives them a new life where they no longer have the stress of supporting uncaring people. Barcelona must be an interesting place as Marc said there was often so much wooden furniture in the streets he could hear the trees shout.

Beautiful sculpture made from discarded furniture by Marc Sparfel

Above is Marc Sparfel with one of his sculpture pieces made from discarded furniture

All about a structure made from willow saplings

My old hometown, Melbourne, is temporarily home to a construction made from willow saplings which are woven into walls and which transform a basic metal frame into a willow church which is being described as a stickwork ballroom. Patrick Dougherty used 10 tonnes of willow tree branches and spend three weeks to build the structure which is at Federation Square. In Victoria, and possibly in other parts of Australia as well, the beautiful willow tree is known as a weed. The trees have roots which happily invade house foundations, pipes etc and the heavy leaf fall does terrible things to the quality of streams and rivers.

Church cum ballroom made from willow saplings

Dentists aplenty in Mackay

After a rough few years, when there was such a shortage of dentists in Mackay that you had to wait weeks for an appointment, the situation now is far better with an influx of new dental surgeries. And if shoes went to dentists, this pair of Balmorals, would face enormous bills. Perhaps not as the teeth are fake. Shoes with a bite

14 January to 16 January 2013

Peace on earth!

Totally disgusting xmas card sent out to the world by a family in the USA

I have received numerous emails from people who are equally revolted by this disgusting xmas card.

4 January to 13 January 2013

Beautiful water droplet

The photograph of a water droplet was taken by Markus Reugels. He calls this a liquid sculpture and it is made by using guar gum to thicken water. He uses a timing device which enables him to capture beautiful patterns.

Shipping container is transformed into an expensive sauna

Shipping containers have often been transformed into homes, shops and even offices, and now one has become a sauna. But this is not for bargain hunters, the price tag is US$41,000. Designed by Canadian studio, Castor Canadensis, these saunas can be easily moved, need very little site preparation and are powered by solar panels. The interior boasts carved stools made of stone and numerous wood and metal elements. Standard features are ipod stereos, electric guitar hook-ups and bronze antlers.

Museum floor covered in pollen

Hazelnut pollen isn't just a favourite of honeybees. Artist Wolfgang Laib, who has been collecting the pollen since the mid 1990's, has transformed the Museum of Modern Art into a pollen-centric installation.

Short lived icemen installation

This is one art installation which had a very short shelf life.The Belfast Festival featured a short lived art installation by Nele Azvedo who covered the steps of the custom house with hundreds of carved icemen. As the day grew warmer the figures slowly melted showing the 'transitory nature of life, and death'. It was publicised as a tribute to those who died when the Titanic went down.

Recycled skateboard becomes a art piece

There comes a time in every young man's life when his skateboard dies a natural death. Skater Harosh, from Tokyo, has transformed recycled skateboards into art pieces which are displayed and sold
in galleries.

26 December 2012 to 3 January 2013

Cracked tooth fairy

The tooth fairy might not be all she is cracked up to be, although cracked could be the operative word here. Malpractice amongst toothfairies includes the insertion of a tooth, left by a boy under his pillow, into his ear. In other cases there was a failure by the tooth fairy to leave money and instead of taking the tooth away, it was put in the children's oesophagus'.

One tooth fairy, aka idiot father, put his childss tooth in his nipple piercing whereupon a jolly good abscess ensued. Researchers into the wrong doings of the toothfairy, suggest doctors view with deep suspicion all cases where children present with a tooth related complaint.

Easy way to give up pipe smoking

Interesting tobacco pipe which prevents access to tobacco

Giving up smoking would be a breeze with this pipe which was an exhibit in Jeremy Hutchison's show, Erratum, which was held recently in London. Items, which were purposefully made disfunctional, were sent in from factories in India, Turkey, Pakistan and China. Having been displayed as intentional mistakes, they are now luxury items available on Erratum's website. The pipe has a sales tag of 475 pounds UK.

I like this thing

Lovely thing

I like this thing which 'articulates the spirit of human movement through colour, texture and sculpture'.

Mexican Relaxation

Trees with house

Two mature trees are very much a part of this building, designed by Cadaval and Sola-Morales, at Tepoztlan, 50 kilometres from Mexico City. Based on a triangular design the building has a living area, kitchenette, reading room enclosed spaces where people are encouraged to relax.

What goes where?

Map of the brain

University of California scientists have created the first interactive map of how the brain organises groupings of objects and actions which are seen by our eyes. For instance humans and animals are grouped together which is straightforward although the combination of buckets and hallways may only make sense to mad cleaners. Maps show more than 1700 visual categories with relationships to one another also expressed. Researchers suggest a better understanding of how the brain organises visual input could help with medical diagnosis, and even with treatment of brain disorders.

21 December to 25 December 2012

Family gathering

(Back row) Will, Amanda, (next row) Denese, Suzanne, Michael, Tahlia, (front row) Nick, Kial, Alishia, Isabella and Lakeda.

Best wishes to everyone for a safe and a healthy day, and best wishes to Peggy, pictured below with Mikaila, Ben and Malakai.

Peggy on xmas day

Tramp, tramp, along...

A path formed from a 170 foot long trampoline

This gentleman is in a hurry as he hurtles along a path which is a 170 foot long trampoline. Salto, an architecture firm from Estonia, developed the path for the archstoyanie festival which was held recently in Russia.

Nesting time

Sunbird nest in Mackay Queensland

This nest was inhabited by what I know as a sunbird but I may be wrong. The bird is tiny with a bright yellow body and black on top and seems to hover. The day after this photograph was taken much needed heavy rain in Mackay knocked it to the ground but by then the babies had flown.

17 December to 20 December 2012

Aileen's housemates, photographed by Aileen, are Seal and Pixie (the little one), who is an RSPCA rescue cat. The last photograph is not a cat.

Aileen's cats Seal and Pixie

Wonderful plastination

Gunther von Hagens and a plastinated body

A few weeks ago I spent a very enjoyable four hours watching a dvd called Autopsy. The dvd showed a number of autopsies undertaken by Gunther von Hagens whose name is tied to the process of plastination. This technique, which can take between 1000 to 1500 hours, prepares bodies which are sliced very thinly. These human specimens are available for both basic and continuing medical training and are also used for general medical education of the public.

Gunther von Hagens, when he was still an anatomy assistant, saw a body embedded in a polymer block and wondered why the polymer hadn't been put inside the specimen to stabilise it. This led to his development of plastination at the University of Heidelberg in 1977.

Home, and not amongst the gum trees

Dumpsters used as homes by homeless people

These large garbage bins, which are lockable, have been transformed by Philipp Stingl, in Germany, into homes, or house containers, for people who are homeless. One container is a micro-sized living room with a window in one side and with a detachable drinking water canister. The other container has been transformed into a bath.

10 December to 16 December 2012

The right to bear arms...

December 15, 2012 - 20 children and 7 adults murdered

August 5, 2012 - 6 people murdered

July 20, 2012 - 12 people murdered

4 December to 9 December 2012

Rescue dogs in NZ are learning to drive!

New Zealand is obviously leading the way, although in a rather obscure fashion. A team is teaching three rescue dogs, Porter (shown above), Monty and Ginny, how to drive. The vehicle is a modified version of the Mini Countryman which features paw-friendly brakes and accelerators. The team is made up of Mini Cooper New Zealand, the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, and Ikon Engineering. The idea is to show rescue animals are far from second class, and to prove you can definitely teach a dog, especially a rescue dog, new tricks.

Assistance dogs need your help

Assistance dogs help people with physical disabilities

Assistance Dogs Australia trains Labradors and Golden Retrievers to help people with physical disabilities. You can make donations online.

Oscar dies just before he turns 105

Oscar Niemeyer, architect, dies just before his 105th birthday

I wrote about this architect, Oscar Niemeyer, in an earlier post when, at the age of 103, he was still designing buildings. He died recently, just a few weeks before he would have turned 105 and below is the Tribunal Superior Eleitoral which he designed last year. His buildings featured curves, reinforced concrete, and unconventional, abstract patterns, and he was crucial to the design of Brazil's capital Brasilia in the 1950's. Sadly he was barred from working in the USA due to his political beliefs but this did not stop him from being awarded one of the top architecture awards, the Pritzker Architecture Prize, which is awarded each year to a living architect who has produced "consistent and significant contributions to humanity and to the build environment". The Tribunal Superior Eleitoral designed by Oscar Niemeyer

Gingerbread men are passe

New directions for cooks

Gingerbread wonder of the world

So for all those who make gingerbread men at this peculiar time of year, it is time to turn your talents in another direction. Why not follow on from this display, at Le Parker Meridien, which features the six wonders of the world, all made from gingerbread?

Erratum exhibition in London

This shoe is one of many interesting objects which are featured by artist, Jeremy Hutchison, in his show called Erratum which is underway in London during December. He invited workers from factories in China, India, Turkey, and Pakistan to insert an error in the items they mass-produced every day. These items will later be for sale through a luxury shop in London. Each item will be numbered, sealed and authenticated with the provenance.

Magic Number

The number 147 has haunted me for many years, and it also haunts my children, so it was no surprise that I read 147,000 Australians died last year. This was an increase of 2.4 percent on the 2010 figure, and an increase of 14.3 percent on 10 years ago.

3 December 2012

Frog fountain at the Singapore Universal Film Studio theme park

My theme is fountains and here is a frog fountain at the Universal Film Studio theme park in Singapore. A similar park is in Japan but the one in Singapore was officially opened on May 28 2011 following four years of construction.

26 November to 2 December 2012

The pink fountain in Mackay marks World AIDS Day

While a red ribbon is the symbol for World AIDS Day, Mackay has coloured the fountain a beautiful pink. Or perhaps I am colour blind, anyway it looks lovely and is a great way to mark the day and to remind people of the need to improve support for people living with HIV and to prevent further infections.

More than 190 countries participate in World AIDS Day which was declared in 1988. The theme for World AIDS Day 2012 is HIV is still here. The aim is to encourage all Australians to be aware of the prevalence of HIV/AIDS; to take action to reduce the transmission of HIV by promoting safe sex practices; and to accept individuals living with or affected by HIV/AIDS.

Below is the hagfish

A delightful name for a fish which is really an eel

The delightful hagfish

In a few years people could be wearing clothing made from fibres modelled after slime from the hagfish. Goodbye to other synthetics including nylon and Kevlar which have their beginnings in petroleum.

Everyone would love to know that the hagfish, which is really an eel, can produce quarts of slime in just seconds which are made of thousands of threads, 100 times thinner than a human hair but which are very strong. Poor fish who wander into the hagfish neighbourhood can be suffocated by this slime.

Hagfish is the only known living animal which has a skull but does not have a vertebral column. They do not have jaws and are in fact, living fossils being very similar to hagfish from 300 million years ago.


The Biomuseum in

Photograph taken by Victoria Murillo

The Panama Puente de Vida Museo, designed by Frank O. Gehry, is a scientific centre which documents the culture of the ocean and land species which originated in the
Panamanian Isthmus. The musuem includes eight
galleries, a botanical garden and aquariums. Inside
are 16 pilars that will describe mankind's effect on the panamanian ecosystem.

A new and wonderful black hole

Diana's all time favourite, a black hole

In the centre of this disk galaxy is one of the biggest central super-massive black holes ever found. The black hole has the mass of 17 billion Suns. This can be compared to the black hole in the centre of the Milky Way which has a mass of four million Suns. The galaxy hosting the new black hole appears to have formed more than 8 billion years ago, and does not appear to have changed much since then.

The image was taken with the Hubble Space Telescope.

20 November to 25 November 2012

The Australian Mist

I had no idea there was an Australian breed of cat, called the Australian Mist, which was bred by Dr Truda Straede and was registered in 1977. The cat is a combination of Burmese, Abyssinian and the domestic short hair.. The Australian Mist is very affectionate and is a pacifist, as are my cats. There is also the Marbled Mist and the Spotted Mist. Today there are approximately 100 breeding cats and 1500 pets in Australia.

Not a spaceship

spaceship house barvikha

This spaceship type house is in Barvikha, in Russia, and was commissioned by Russian businessman Vladislav Doronin. The tower is 22 metres high and provides 360 degree views of the countryside. The value of the house is not known however Doronin has an estimated net worth of $1 billion dollars so can no doubt afford any price. The house was designed by Dame Zaha Hadid who won the Pritzker Architecture Prize, architecture's equivalent of the Nobel Prize in 2004, and the Stirling Prize in 2010 and 2011.

Lots of cats

Queenie is tired of having her photograph taken Snoopy relaxes Gizmo is alert Stampy's favourite place is the printer

13 November to 19 November 2012

Open your heart, and mouth, to this cake

Eat your heart out, or rather try this cake made from red velvet sponges.

Or if you haven't the heart, can you face it?

Buy watermelons in Mackay

In Mackay watermelons are cheap and readily available during the summer months. A very different picture is apparent in Japan where the Densuke watermelons are sold for thousands of dollars. The fruit is only grown on Hokkaido Island in Japan and has a smooth dark outercovering with pink flesh. First crops of each season are sold for staggering amounts. In Japan a bunch of grapes can sell for $900 while two mangoes cost $2000.

Nothing to do with watermelons, another cake

This is a cake too

And now for something completely different - a tree house

A globular treehouse at the beach

A tree house with a difference is this cocoon tree, a sphere made of aluminium and accessed by security nets. The coverings are either Korea tarpaulin or Ferrari high quality tarpaulin. The cocoon looks equally beautiful in the forest as it does near the beach.


Ah hah! Now we can look at cute photographs of kittens and puppies at our workplace and know we are significantly improving our attention to detail. In a series of experiments, a new study at Hiroshima University showed that viewing cute images enhanced performance on tasks that required careful focus and dexterity.

Researchers believe cuteness is an essential emotional trigger, but not just anything can be cute as the key characteristics involve disproportionately large heads and eyes, clumsy behavior, and apparent but endearing helplessness. In short, features shared by young animals.

Brain cells at risk

Neither a cake nor a treehouse, but a brain, made of barley

Rutgers University researchers have discovered that the number of nerve cells in the hippocampus of the brain were reduced by nearly 40 percent in rats drinking alcohol at a rate which compared to three to four drinks for women and five drinks for men on a daily basis.

Drinking a couple of glasses of wine each day has generally been seen to promote cardiovascular and brain health however researchers say moderate drinking can become binge drinking without the person realising it and long term effects on learning and memory are adverse. Such drinking could lead to a substantial decrease in brain cell numbers over time could have profound effects on the structural plasticity of the adult brain because these new cells communicate with other neurons to regulate brain health.

At risk drinkers are men who drink 14 drinks a week and women who drink seven.

6 November to 12 November 2012

If an Indian scammer rings you, scream

I was brought up to be polite which did not stand me in good stead last week. I received a phone call from a woman with a clear Indian accent who suggested I had had an accident and if I said I had neck and back injuries, then I would receive more than $8000. I told her I wasn't interested. Within an hour I had a second call and had fun leading the caller on for half an hour. At one point the person ringing me must have thought they were close to reeling me in because I was passed on to a supervisor who realised, after a few minutes I was not interested and passed me back to the original person.

Over a period of about four days I had more calls. Firstly I just politely said I wasn't interested and hung up. Secondly I asked that the supervisor be told to remove my number from his list. And then, when the phone rang yet again, I verified it was the same lot of scammers and gave the loudest longest scream into the receiver.

And it worked. Go for it but be warned you will have a sore throat and possibly some bleeding, but the silence is bliss.

28 October to 5 November 2012

A pumpkin zombie at the New York Botanical Garden

I know all about webmasters, but pumpkin master is a new phrase for me. But that is just who you need to create a disembowelled pumpkin zombie, which is just what every botanic garden needs, but only the New York Botanical Garden, gets. New York artist, Ray Villafane, and a crew of four carvers, used oversized pumpkins which were then transformed into creatures of the night.

Looking down, down, down

The atrium in the new library at the University of Aberdeen

Image courtesy of Schmidt Hammer Lassen architects

The University of Aberdeen, which was established in 1495 and which is the fifth oldest English langage university in the world, now has a new library which was designed by Danish architects, Schmidt Hammer Lassen. The central atrium rises through eight stories, right to the roof and is surrounded by 1200 reading spaces, 250,000 books and manuscripts, archives and historical collections.

collage made from maps

Image courtesy of Matthew Cusick and the Pavel Zoubok Gallery

Collages, made from maps, are the focus for artist Matthew Cusick who transforms notable women using segments of maps. The collages use the same colours asthose which are used in the world of cartography and the maps are particular to each subject.

capitzo fitzpatricki

Cornell University ornithology graduates have discovered a new bird species in the Peruvian Andes. The Capito Fitzpatricki has a bright red breast and a black mask and eats fruit. The name honours John W Fitzpatrick who discovered seven new bird species in Peru during the 1970's and 1980's.

When you finish your drinks, make a face

A face made from drinking straws

22 October to 27 October 2012

Don't waste your time, intelligence or money watching Zombie Nation

I've had the interesting experience of watching Zombie Nation, the second worst film I have ever seen and number six on IMDb's Bottom 100. One viewer wrote that even if you were curious about seeing this film it would be more enjoyable to stick cocktail umbrellas in your eyes instead. Critic Staci Layne Wilson from said the only way she could be made to watch another film by Ulli Lommel would be to make her choose between that or "having a loaded pistol taped to my temple which is rigged to an active landmine under my foot as you douse me with itching powder".

This film totally lacks production values, the nation of zombies is made up of five females with black around their eyes, the storyline is painful, the acting is non existent, and all the interiors appear to be filmed in the same warehouse.

Spoil your poultry

A mere $100,000 will buy this hen house

If you have hens you could consider providing them with the perfect henhouse, the Heritage Hen Mini Farm, designed by Svetlana Simon which sells for just $100,000. The accommodation is two storeys high and comes complete with a chandelier and living room and broody room. And just what all hens need, a library which includes books (perhaps there are bookworms here too in which case the hens will find they make an inteligent feed).

Tramp, tramp, tramp across the bridge

A bridge made of trampolines

The design firm, AZC, has produced a new idea for a bridge across the Seine River in Paris, a bridge made from enormous trampolines. This blow up, but not blown up, bridge will provide a fun way for people to bounce their way across the river. It is made up of three 30 metre round inflatable modules encircled by trampoline mesh so walkers and bouncers don't end up in the drink.

The Echair

Lovely lines on this chair

This Echair is one from Joseph Walsh's Enignum Chairs collection all of which feature wood that has been stripped into thin layers and then manipulated into free form seats.

15 October to 21 October 2012

Don't argue, eat chocolate for the good of Australia

Studies are undertaken into the strangest of subjects, and this one takes the cake, sorry chocolate. Professor Franz Messerli from Columbia University, has discovered that countries which consume the most chocolate win the most Nobel prizes. Interesting side note, a story I was following persisted in calling the prize the 'Noble' which makes me wonder if that information was taken from the study itself, and if so, with such an alarming mistake, perhaps not all the information is believable.

Anyway it is a sweet story. With a consumption of 13 kilograms per year per capita, Switzerland has the most Nobel laureates, a total of 31. Countries whose citizens consume very little chocolate, score at the bottom of the list and they include China, Japan and Brazil.

I think Australia has 13 Nobel laureates to date. We must eat more chocolate.

Pretty frog - and aren't they all?

A very pretty frog created with Paint Tool

This very pretty rainbow frog is from Deviant Art and was edited by Satsuki-Hana using Paint Tool.

Label your fear

A beautiful spider

Yet another study suggests people should not only face their fears, they should label them. A UCLA study encouraged 88 people, who were terrified of spiders, to go close to a large tarantula and to describe how they felt, eg 'I am totally terrified, get me out of here!' The researchers said in other types of studies attempts were made to change the way people thought, for instance, 'I really love spiders'.

Participants, who were originally divided into four groups, only one of which did the labelling, were re-tested and asked to get closer to the tarantula and if possible to touch it. Those who had labelled their fear performed the best. Researchers looked at how much the people's hands sweated which is a measure of fear. I notice no one checked how the tarantula was holding up, after all he had been exposed to 88 people coming close to it with no doubt awful looks on their faces.

Whale mothers

The question that is no doubt on everyone's lips, why do female killer whales have the longest menopause of any non human species, has now been answered. It is so that they can continue to care for their adult sons because if a male is over 30, the death of his mother means a fourteen fold increase in the liklihood of his death within the following twelve months. For females under the age of 30, the death of their mothers had no effect on their survival rates. Female killer whales produce offspring until they are in their thirties or forties, but may live to 90.

With killer whales, sons and daughters stay with their mothers in a single group throughout their lives. Older mothers therefore have the opportunity to increase the transmission of their genes by helping their adult offspring to survive and reproduce. When sons mate, their offspring are cared for by females in another group, whereas when daughters reproduce the offspring stay in the group.

8 October to 14 October 2012

One door for all ages

I used the photograph above simply so I could write the pun. There should have been another, smaller door, for pets.

Doors are not always adoorable. University of Notre Dame psychologists recently published the suggestion that doorways triggers event boundaries in the mind, which separates one set of thoughts and memories for another. And thus you can walk into a room with a definite purpose but forget it when you walk through the doorway. Thoughts or plans you had in the first room are neatly filed away by the brain when you cross the event boundary, and a blank slate is ready for the second room and poof! away goes your memory of your intended purpose.

Support for Gay Marriage

Mackay support for gay marriage

A rally for the rights of gay people to marry, had a good turnout in Mackay recently. The subject has given rise to numerous letters and texts to the editor of the Daily Mercury with a fairly clear division of those absoloutely in favour of the recognition of gay marriage, and from those totally against the idea, usually sprinkled with many odd references to the bible.

Wooden it

Lifesize carving of a wooden coffin which is also a boat

Sebastian Errazuriz was born in Chile and lives in New York where he makes miniature sculptures and has now increased his output to make the lifesize boat coffin which is a truly effishent use of an item which otherwise rots under the ground.


One door for all ages

I appear to have gone overboard with puns. A pun is also called paronomasia and the word pun, thought to be a contraction of the word pundigrion, has been used for almost 500 years.

2 October to 7 October 2012

Tropical bird made from Lego by

Gardener and birdlover, Thomas Poulsom, may be an adult but he has been mixing and maxing it with the toy, Lego, and after producing a series of six British birds made from Lego, he followed up with a set of tropical birds, and is now making ones from North America. He makes the birds lifesize and their shape and colour are true to the originals. He hopes his creations will become official Lego products.

Portable hotel unit

This mobile hotel room, called the hypercubus, is modular and portable. The units have been specifically made to use existing resources and to be easily moved from place to place. The design is from Studio WG3 in Austria.

Nothing to do with genealogy, just roots

I've watched some dvds made in the USA lately and an alarming number feature actresses who have dyed blonde hair and who have dark black roots. I have discovered this is not laziness, nor a lack of money, but a fashion statement similar to the stubble seen on the faces of a variety of actors. Fifteen years ago a Dr Tony Fallone said blonde was not a hair colour, it was a state of mind. Perhaps blondes of today would mind very much if they had to resort to the dyes used in the past which included urine from horses and pigeon dung.

blonde hair black roots


24 September to 1 October 2012

Farewell to Charlie Dudley

Doreen and Charlie Dudley

A true gentleman, Charlie Dudley, husband of Doreen and father of four sons, Earl, Dean, Ian and Ken, died on 3 August this year (2012) at the age of 97. I have put his story on my Dudley page.

Bird house created by collective L.E.FT

Bird House, image by Joe Kesrouani

The bird house was created from 2500 brass bullets collected from areas in Lebanon where a great deal of hunting is done. It is a commentary on the uncertainty of life during war and was made by a New York collective L.E.FT.

Shoes to go

Can't get lost in these shoes, inbuilt gps

British designer, Dominic Wilcox, has developed these fascinating gps shoes which will take you where you want to go, provided you have plotted the correct course to your destination. The location is uploaded to the shoe. Click the heels and the system is activated. Progress is shown on a bar of LED lights. Definitely not for people who have problems with left and right.

Get fit, make music

Cycling starts the music

Compose while you cycle, another idea from New York designers is the music machine which is run by pedalling a stationary bicycle. By cycling at different speeds, different compositions are created.

Danish museum

Welcome to the proposed new natural history museum in Denmark designed by Big
Architects which features a whale hall where some of the oldest skeletons in the world
will be exhibited. From this central area a subterranean level connects all the buildings forming a continuous loop. Skylights provide lighting and the loop also includes greenhouses.

17 September to 23 September 2012

A brain made from chilli

A group of people from Chicago, who have taken part in a study that looks at why some people still have excellent memories in old age, all plan to donate their brains for further study. The people who were studied, called superagers included 10 people whose average age was 83.1 and 14 others with an average age of 57.9. By using MRI scans it was shown one brain region in those studied was bigger than the brains of the middle-aged people.

Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine researcher Emily Rogalski said the outer layer of the older people's brains was much thicker than normal. This area is important for thinking abilities, for memory and for attention. It was also found that the anterior cingulate of SuperAger participants' was thicker than in the 50 to 65 year olds. Miss Rogalski suggested the SuperAgers had very keen attention which supported their exceptional memories.

The brain pictured above is not from a human, it is made from chilli.

Combating Pain

The Mackay Pain Support group, which began in January this year, is enlarging very quickly which shows the absolute need for support for people with chronic pain. The group now includes 170 consumers who live with persistent pain. The group is supported by the Mackay Pain Management network which is a multidisciplinary healthcare team of 14 members who include a general practitioner, pharmacists, psychologists, nurses and physiotherapists.

The monthly meetings, which are increasingly well attended, feature guest speakers and on October 13 there will be two topics, 'chronic pain and the impact on families', and 'control pain, don't let it control you'. The November 17 meeting will feature a pain specialist from the Queensland Pain Clinic.

The Mackay Pain Support group now has an offshoot, a walking group which meets fortnightly and strolls along the river from Canelands to the restaurant, Bridges.

Photographs of Queenie and Stampy for absolutely no reason

Queenie the cat, relaxing Stampy the cat, guarding

A green school and the ants plants

8 September to 16 September 2012

The green school at Bali

A bamboo column at a new school in Bali was transformed into a musical instrument with the installation of a harp. The idea of a green school was conceived by John and Cynthia Hardy and designed by PT Bamboo Pure to use bamboo throughout, not only in the structure but also as flooring, seating, and other furniture.

The school helps spread the idea of sustainability and has rice fields, gardens, a fish pond and compost toilets. Students are very lucky to have frequent visits from both regional and international artists.

Below is a very helpful ant

A very helpful ant visits the Borderea chouardii

Flowering female plant with a visiting ant photographed by Maria B Garcia

Three species of ants are helping an endangered plant to continue to thrive. The plant, the Borderea chouardii, is only found on two sheer sides of a cliff in the Pyrenees and is critically endangered. Maria Garcia and a group of researchers from the Pyrenean Institute of Ecology discovered two of the ant species were the main pollinators for the plant which, because of its situation is protected from herbivores, and has been known to live for more than 300 years.

Between air installation

The green school at Bali

This installation, called 'between air', was created for the Spanish pavilion at the Venice 2012 Architecture Biennale by architects Jose Selgas and Lucia Cano. Recycled plastic was used to make the airpots which feature holes which bring light to the root system. When the roots reach the air they dry out and are naturally pruned, encouraging them to grow in a different direction. The irrigation tubes are based on the hydroponic idea of bringing nutrients to the plants in water and are also very flexible and can be used for curves. A mechanism moves the airpots closer to, then away from light sources, to enable a variation of light and heat.

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This page was updated by Diana Kupke (Diana Mann) on 8 January 2022