On March 25, 1925, John Logie Baird set up an unusual contraption in the Selfridges department store in London. It was a gimmick for attracting shoppers. It also happened to be the first public display of the mechanical television.
Mechanical televisions came before the electronic televisions we have today — they were an early way to transmit images without film, and they paved the way for the TVs we use now. And today marks the 90th anniversary of the first public demonstration of one.
"It was a wonderment," says Gary Edgerton, author of The Columbia History of American Television. "I imagine a lot of people who showed up at Selfridges that day had never thought of television." When Baird sent some blurry silhouettes across a department store, he made history.
An app about bees might sound a little dry or a little unsettling, depending on your outlook, but 1,000 Bees is surprisingly engaging. It’s a rich visual experience, with images of each bee gathered from research collections around the world. You can swipe through the bees or let them flicker across your screen in an animated film. You can sort by color, geographic habitat or behavior and even create animated films based upon parameters you choose. Want to see only red bees indigenous to the American Midwest? No problem. Clicking on a bee takes you to its backstory, where you can learn even more about your new favorite insect. “What we’re doing is a make a lot stuff that’s available to academics and research scientists available to the greater public and in an accessible form,” says O’Toole, a collaborator on the project.
In the past, people haven’t been terribly interested in bees. Birds and butterflies? Sure. But bees, unless they’re making honey or about to sting, tend to fly under the radar. “Butterflies and dragonflies are very popular because they’re big showy insects and people see them all the time,” says O’Tool. “But there’s lots of interesting behavior going on in people’s backyards.” Of the 20,000 known species of bees, those showcased in the app are among the most amazing of the bunch. There’s Wallace’s Giant Mason Bee, an insect with a 2.5-inch wingspan and formidable jaws. Or the optical illusion bee, with its shiny, technicolor abdomen. And yes, the honey bee is in there, too.
You could take a standalone app about bees as proof that public sentiment towards the insect is changing. Bees are no longer considered a pain-inducing nuisance to be swatted at and killed. With a responsibility of pollinating a third of human food production, bees are far too crucial to human survival to go ignored. So take 1,000 Bees as a reminder that we should care what happens to these little insects—not just the honey bee or the fuzzy bumblebee in your garden, but all 20,000 of the buzzing, pollinating (and yes, stinging) varieties out there.
The colors in his maps correspond to the direction of the street layout; the thickness of the lines depends how gridded the streets are (the more gridded, the thicker the line). Roads at right angles to each other have the same color, which is why you see pockets of different colors. “North-south-east-west streets map to red, those rotated 15 degrees clockwise to purple, 30 degrees blue, 45 degrees cyan, 60 degrees green, 75 degrees yellow, and back to red at 90 degrees (north-south-east-west again),” Von Worley explains. In places like New York, the grid is offset at about 29 degrees from due north (hence the swath of purple), while Chicago in its orangey-red hue adheres to cardinal directions.
Looking at the maps, you’ll notice that many of the cities are broken up into rainbows of grid systems. San Francisco, for example, is made of fragmented pockets of colors, thanks to stubborn topography and a complex urban history. Others cities like Paris and London, barely have grids at all (aside from the cemeteries). Saying why is complicated. The layout of urban spaces tell stories of politics, war and power struggles. Cities and their streets are dynamic—they morph according to natural and made-made constraints. They speak to the ideals of the time, whether that be the practicality of New York City’s northern development, or centralization of power like you see in the grid-less streets of Europe.
While tuning up his Nissan Skyline GTR sports car, one auto enthusiast, together with his talented and supremely dedicated artist wife, accidentally stumbled upon an amazing way to give their sleek silver vehicle an unforgettable paintjob.
The car enthusiast, who is a member of the U.S. Military, hated the car’s silver color. One evening, he let his wife doodle on a few scratches on the bumper, and when the sun came up and he saw her stunningly intricate and elegant drawings, they knew they had to forge on. While he worked on tuning the insides, she drew on the car.
After roughly 100 hours of work and several clear coats to protect the design, they had an impressively beautiful car that they had tuned up as a team!
The magnificent patterns found on butterfly wings make these insects a wonder to behold. But they do more than dazzle the human eye: The colorful designs also frighten or trick predators, help butterflies avoid detection, and attract mates.
In 60 second :Google receives over 4,000,000 search queriesYouTube users upload 71 hours of new videosPinterest users Pin 3,472 photos Facebook users share, 2,460,000 pieces of content Twitter users share 277,000 tweetApple users download 48,000 apps.The global internet population grew 14.3 percent from 2011 - 2013 and now presents 2.4 Billion peopl
In 1977, NASA launched two unmanned missions into space, Voyager 1 and Voyager 2. Though originally intended to study Saturn and Jupiter over the course of two years, the probes have long outlasted and outtraveled their purpose and destination, on course to exit the solar system this month. Attached to each Voyager is a gold-plated record, known as The Golden Record — an epic compilation of images and sounds from Earth encrypted into binary code, the ultimate mixtape of humanity. Engineers predict it will last a billion years. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the Golden Record was conceived by the great Carl Sagan and was inspired by his childhood visit to the 1939 New York World’s Fair, where he witnessed the famous burial of the Westinghouse time capsule. And while its story is fairly well-known, few realize it’s actually a most magical love story — the story of Carl Sagan and Annie Druyan, the creative director on the Golden Record project, with whom Sagan spent the rest of his life.
The Voyagers is a beautiful short film by video artist and filmmaker Penny Lane, made of remixed public domain footage — a living testament to the creative capacity of remix culture — using the story of the legendary interstellar journey and the Golden Record to tell a bigger, beautiful story about love and the gift of chance. Lane takes the Golden Record, “a Valentine dedicated to the tiny chance that in some distant time and place we might make contact,” and translates it into a Valentine to her own “fellow traveler,” all the while paying profound homage to Sagan’s spirit and legacy.
The 576,412 people who reside in Wyoming represent 0.18 percent of the total U.S. population. But Wyoming’s three electoral votes represent 0.68 percent of the total number of votes available to a presidential candidate, and the state’s two senators are, of course, 2 percent of the voting members of the U.S. Senate. Blame the electoral college and the Constitution, which sets the number of senators, for Wyoming’s (relatively) outsized influence.
But what if we redrew the map to give every state an equal voice — by giving them an equal population? Mapmaker Neil Freeman has done just that, by drawing 50 states with just about 6,175,000 people each.
A friend told me to go to a certain latitude and longitude on Google Maps. When I noticed it seemed to be in the middle of an African desert, I thought he was just sending nonsense. But when I zoomed in, my mind was blown. I noticed a tiny icon that looked like an airplane.
When Justin Palmer stumbled across a dataset that included the year nearly every building in the Portland metro area was built, he was curious how old the buildings on his block are. Instead of just searching the data for his neighbors’ addresses, he made the beautiful map above.
He posted the map on his website, and it soon caught the eye of other mapmakers. Just a few days later, Thomas Rhiel published a similar map of Brooklyn, spurred by New York City’s release of a huge dataset known as PLUTO. Pretty soon, more maps began popping up. Soon there was a map of all of New York City, one of Reykjavik, Iceland, and one of Ljubljana, Slovenia, each with its own amazing colors, patterns and stories.
These maps make more than just pretty pictures. Palmer learned from his mapthat Portland’s oldest building identifiable by name was built in 1851. Only 942 structures are left from the 1890s while 75,434 built in the 1990s are still standing. Palmer graphed the steep and steady decline of new buildings since 2005.
Inspired by Palmer’s map, Marko Plahuta made a map of building ages in his home town of Ljubljana, Slovenia. When he plotted the number of buildings built each year, the graph had some huge spikes in it, and he set about discovering why. One spike occurred four years after a major earthquake hit the area in 1899 when people were able to rebuild. Similar periods of rebuilding show up after the two world wars. Plahuta made a really nice video of his map that shows the growth of the city from 1500-2013.
The Netherlands has a wonderful dataset that includes the almost 10 million buildings in the entire country, which inspired two beautiful maps in this gallery.
I first became aware of Paul Koudounaris a couple of years back with the release of his Thames and Hudson book, The Empire of Death: A Cultural History of Ossuaries and Charnel Houses, but had forgotten about his beautiful and stunning imagery from religious ossuaries throughout Europe until I received an email from my friend Lee announcing the release of Koudounaris’ new book, Heavenly Bodies: Cult Treasures and Spectacular Saints from the Catacombs (also from T&H).
The ultimate veneration, these bejeweled bodies remind us distantly of the illuminated manuscripts from the earlier Middle Ages, but instead of decorating pages of text, we’re looking at the remains of various saints, both male and female, dressed and decorated with such subtle intricacy, all shimmering with silk and gold, sparkling in precious stones including rubies and emeralds. The result is breathtaking.
Beautiful in their own right, these works of art from artist Atsushi Koyama look very much like illustrations for how to manipulate a holographic design table. A lot of precise hand and eye coordination is involved.
A stealthy resurgence happening in the design world—a rebellion against the cold, sleek, digital environment in which we designers spend most of our time. Hand lettering is not-so-quietly making a colossal comeback, exploding into the forefront of design. It no longer has to hide on the B-side or apologize for looking hand lettered. Categories that used to be forbidden, such as logos and packaging, now embrace this historic form of typographic expression. It’s appearing everywhere—even on A-list products such as movie titles, magazines, book covers and advertisements. Hand lettering is out, proud and absolutely amazing.
The beauty of hand lettering is its flexibility and adaptability. It can be found in so many forms and so many different types of media that it appeals to almost every audience. From whimsical to elegant, and old school to new school—there is hand lettering inspiration out there for everyone.
Hand lettering involves taking a completely different approach to the use of text in design, moving away from the skills used for traditional typography. Whilst typography concentrates on the art and technique of arranging type, generally using preexisting typefaces, hand-lettering is the art of drawing letters. To put it a little more simply, typography is graphic design, whereas lettering is illustration.
Let’s celebrate this illustrative and creative expression of letters by looking at a six designers who have turned hand lettering into an art.
"Create random modern art by simplifying images to their core elements," promises simplify.thatsh.it. "The output is a geometric composition derived from file data of the original image." Above: an example of what the generator does. At left, the original image. At right, the funky, minimalist transformation.
Italian photographer Elido Turco spent four years between 2004 and 2008 exploring a mirrored photography world that remains invisible to most of us. By taking photographs of tree bark and then mirroring the photographs he captured, he discovered a whole society of “Dream Creatures” were watching him each time he would take a stroll through the mountain paths.
Turco loves walking the mountain paths of his native Friuli with his wife, and for years he would use this time to try and find human forms and faces formed by the bark and roots of the trees in the forest.
The catches, he admits, were few and far between until, one day, curiosity got the best of him and he decided to mirror an image on his computer. What he discovered was “a world of… fantastic creatures” the he had never realized existed.
In 1692 an artist known only as "A. Boogert" sat down to write a book in Dutch about mixing watercolors. Not only would he begin the book with a bit about the use of color in painting, but would go on to explain how to create certain hues and change the tone by adding one, two,
“Frank Rudolph Paul (1884 – 1963) was an illustrator of US science fiction pulp magazines in the field. He was influential in defining what both cover art and interior illustrations in the nascent science fiction pulps of the 1920s looked like.”
On a microscopic scale, a four-day-old zebrafish embryo looks a lot like a multicolored alien wearing enormous headphones and looking surprised. Or maybe it’s just in the middle of singing along with “Happy” or whatever the aliens are streaming these days through their headphones (which are actually the zebrafish’s eyes). On a similar scale, the crystals on a solar cell look like a chaotic foreign landscape. Zoom in even more, and human cardiac tissue resembles a knobby, moss-covered tree trunk.
These and the other images collected here are the winners of the 2014 Wellcome Image Awards, which celebrate striking science and medical images. The overall winner depicts a mechanical heart pump embedded in the chest of a patient awaiting a heart transplant. Constructed from a new type of CT scan, the full image is rendered in 3-D and can be rotated, sliced, and magnified.
One day, while my daughter was happily distracted in her own marker drawings, I decided to risk pulling out a new sketchbook I had special ordered. It had dark paper, and was perfect for adding highlights to. I had only drawn a little in it, and was anxious to try it again, but knowing our daughter’s love of art supplies, it meant that if I wasn’t sly enough, I might have to share. (Note: I’m all about kid’s crafts, but when it comes to my own art projects, I don’t like to share.) Since she was engrossed in her own project, I thought I might be able to pull it off.
Ahhh, I should’ve known better. No longer had I drawn my first face (I love drawing from old black & white movie stills) had she swooped over to me with an intense look. “OOOH! Is that a NEW sketchbook? Can I draw in that too, mama?” I have to admit, the girl knows good art supplies when she sees them. I muttered something about how it was my special book, how she had her own supplies and blah blah blah, but the appeal of new art supplies was too much for her to resist. In a very serious tone, she looked at me and said, “If you can’t share, we might have to take it away if you can’t share.”
Oh no she didn’t! Girlfriend was using my own mommy-words at me! Impressed, I agreed to comply. “I was going to draw a body on this lady’s face,” I said. “Well, I will do it,” she said very focused, and grabbed the pen. I had resigned myself to let that one go. To let her have the page, and then let it go. I would just draw on my own later, I decided. I love my daughter’s artwork, truly I do! But this was MY sketchbook, my inner kid complained.
Microbiologist-turned-photographer Zachary Copfer has developed an amazing photo-printing technique that’s very different from any we’ve seen before. Rather than use photo-sensitive papers, chemicals, or ink, Copfer uses bacteria. The University of Cincinnati MFA photography student calls the technique “bacteriography”, which involves controlling bacteria growth to form desired images.
Here’s how Copfer’s method works: he first takes a supply of bacteria like E. coli, turns it into a fluorescent protein, and covers a plate with it (does this remind you something?). Next, he creates a “negative” of the photo he wants to print by covering the prepared plate with the photo and then exposing it to radiation. He then “develops” the image by having the bacterial grow, and finally “fixes” the image by coating the image with a layer of acrylic and resin.
Using this process, he creates images of things ranging from famous individuals to Hubble telescope photos of galaxies:
Though filled with dozens of subjects, each photo has an emotional core—the camping collection was inspired by a plastic flashlight Golden had as a kid and recently rediscovered at a thrift store, while the bright orange and yellow housewares came from Lane’s personal collection.
Despite owning a well-equipped photo studio, Golden didn’t have nearly enough gear for the camera photo. To pull off this shot, Golden and Lane had to become event organizers and librarians—the pair asked the Portland photography community to borrow gear for a day, resulting in donations of 400 pieces of kit that needed to be cataloged and a gathering of photographers that turned Golden’s studio into an impromptu photography convention. “It took Kristin and I 14 hours to lay out and photograph,” he says. “We have both learned a lot about what’s possible and what isn’t, how big these things can be compared to the scale of the items.”
The photos have a minimal style, but are really the result of Golden obsessive pursuit of perfectionism. “The scissors were a challenge,” he says. “I did one layout and didn’t like it, and redid it — my assistant thought I was nuts. Still, nothing was weirder than learning an old friend had over 5,000 scissors at his house.”
Golden’s still life series has collected a series of awards and honors that rivals some of the collections he’s photographed and has led to more corporate work, but he is always searching for the next astonishing assortment of esoteric products to photograph. “I shoot stuff I’m interested in and combine that with what I can get a hold of,” he says. “When I started, it was a bit harder, but now people are coming out of the woodwork and offering it.”
Artist Rachel Evans makes gorgeous poster-art with a spirograph, and has an especially sweet line of world-maps made using the technique, which she sells as posters. Click through for a video of her in action.
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