The latest from our resident zoologist and London-based editor, Justine Aw.
I finally made it to the California Academy of Sciences in its new Golden Gate Park home! I have been looking forward to checking the new facilities out in person, ever since Jean visited (and posted about) it a few years back (see previous posts here, here and here). As expected, the facilities are incredible and the animals it houses are phenomenal. I can’t recommend visiting strongly enough. With a walkthrough rainforest filled with terarria and aquaria as well as the dedicated Steinhart aquarium, the Cal Academy is a real treat to visit and proved to be the perfect playground for a macro lens! Here are just a few of the academy’s incredible creatures. More pictures on the next page!
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*NOTCOT in design
- 01.24.12 -
This week’s roundup from NOTCOT.org includes carnivorous caterpillars, cartographic illustrations, solar flares and more. To find out more about each post, click on its individual image.
This post is brought to you by Mercedes-Benz. Every day, we strive to fulfill one simple promise: the best or nothing. Visit MBUSA to learn more.
It’s no surprise that many of our favorite lighting designs are heavily inspired by nature and geometric patterns. With their modular structures, many of these designs are even compact flat packed lighting systems that can be assembled easily (without tools or glue even!) by the end consumer into gorgeous large chandelier/pendant lamps. On the next page take a look at a roundup of geometric lighting we love from design classics to modern designs to futuristic living concepts!
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*NOTCOT in tech
- 01.23.12 -
Flipping through lots of CES pictures, had to share the new world of Belkin. First you can’t miss their glowing new logo and white tree atop their two story “booth”. Their booth was more of a house or visiting various parts of different homes… from the vintage modern living room and office ~ to baby monitors ~ super thin TVs showing the remote garage door camera/openers ~ digitally controlled front door locks ~ kitchens equipped with various ipad stands ~ essentially every room was represented in an awesomely cozy way (when it wasn’t completely packed with fascinated CES-goers)… and there was even an upgraded retro photobooth i had fun in! The new WeMo system they were previewing definitely lead to a fun app controlled home of the near future… take a peek at their world within CES on the next page!
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Remember a few years back when i visited California Carnivores? Well my carnivorous plants that came home with me from that trip are still doing their thing happily… and the other day NOTCOT.org editor, Justine Aw, came by and noticed that this sundew (most likely the cape sundew, Drosera capensis) caught its own prey! Fascinating to see it in action up close as its little tendrils wrapped tighter and tighter… see her close ups on the next page as well as the BBC’s time lapse footage of the a sundew at work!
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*NOTCOT in gratis
- 01.22.12 -
It’s hard to miss Los Angeles’ massive art celebration right now… Pacific Standard Time Performance and Public Art Festival is happening all over the city January 19-29, and is apparently ” the largest cultural collaboration ever undertaken in the region.” Amongst the art and experiences popping up… one of the most surprising and amazing videos to surface is the one of rapper Ice Cube celebrating his passion for the Eames. Did you know he studied architectural drafting in his pre-NWA days? Got to love the way he ends it - saying “Who are these people who got a problem with LA? Maybe they mad cuz they don’t live here.” Yay! For LA!
Ok ~ so the awesome folks at TBWA\Chiat\Day have given us limited edition (of 250) Pacific Standard Time/Ice Cube/Eames posters to giveaway to you guys! For a chance to win ~ leave a comment OR tweet us (@NOTCOT) with YOUR unexpected passion (you know ~ the one besides your obvious dayjob/primary passion.) And we will email or D tweet the winners on Weds Jan 25th, 2012. (Please follow @NOTCOT so i can D you if you win!)
… and for now see more pics of the poster as well as the video of Ice Cube on Eames on the next page!
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Over the summer, our friend’s at Chandelier Creative had an awesome Surf Shack in Montauk… and around the surf shack, they also have beehives filled with 20,000 honeybees! Well, come new years, a fun jar of honey arrived (part of their 75 limited edition bottles)~ “Our Chandelier bees will each have flown over 500 miles: feeding in gardens from the McMansions in the Hamptons to the surf-side gardens. Our queen bees kept a loving eye over all their devoted workers ensuring they made the best honey possible. So from our hive to yours, we wish you a sweet 2012.” What a fun way to ring in 2012… take a peek at last summer and an unboxing of this playfully delicious honey on the next page!
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*NOTCOT in food+drink
- 01.20.12 -
On silly random impulse buys, these quarter/euro sized button steak thermometers were too cute. They worked just as expected, needle moving once they started to get hot… and had a perfect medium rare deliciousness for lunch. They are just adorable ~ so see a few more silly pics of them on the next page! Tempting to make new images for them with fun icons…
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*NOTCOT in design
- 01.17.12 -
Shrink wrapped couples, LEGO proposals and mesmerizing fluid dynamics are all a part of this week’s roundup from NOTCOT.org. To find out more about each post, click on its individual image.
*NOTCOT in tech
- 01.16.12 -
Perfect timing ~ the NEST thermostat just arrived today ~ a chilly LA day in need of heating… that i can control from my phones, laptop, etc. (aka from bed when i wake up and before i get to the shower?) It really is a beautiful object, with an incredibly easy and intuitive interface (spin and push to click!)… and it has gorgeous packaging as well… and the coolest little screwdriver you didn’t even know you needed! While you can see tons more about the ins and outs of NEST on their site ~ the unboxing and installation was too fun not to share… so many details to see! So head to the next page and see the rest…
should be no surprise that the UI is by Bould Design (of roku and a lot of the logitech squeezebox goodness)…
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So, you’ve seen the AMAZING video of the dutchman in the woods introducing Cubelets (if not, you must). Well, i finally had a date with Modular Robotics Cubelets ~ and got to explore and create with them over beers and bruschetta while at CES. Fun part? Building autonomous robots that can drive themselves, run away from me, run to me, spin lights around, and beep away… all while navigating around the place settings and deliciousness. There’s something undeniably satisfying about the way the magnetic blocks snap together and just start DOING things! And their natural ability to pique the curiosity of people of any age to just get lost exploring the possibilities… truth is, you definitely need a table full to properly explore the overwhelming amount of options… and i love that it feels like true object oriented programming ~ in that you literally connect blocks that have various functions… like the light sensor block to the inverse block to the flashlight block and add a battery block and things just start happening!
Anyhow, these fun robotic cubes have been getting written up everywhere ~ but are you ready to take a peek INSIDE? When popping by the booth the next day, the Modular Robotics team broke out the leatherman and let us take a peek inside an inverse block ~ granted it’s one of the less filled cubes ~ but I love the design of how it opens (and is held together with two little screws!)… also if you ever want to hide things in your robotic cubes……… see more pics on the next page!
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The first new Urbanears headphone design launched at CES this year was the Turncable which i just showed you. Second ~ Humlan! Interesting part of this design… there is a metal headband (love the detail of the urban ears tag actually being cloth sewn through a slit in the metal!) with MAGNETIC ear-speakers? pads? poofs? what would you call them? The simplicity and the satisfaction of feeling them snap into place and slide to adjust feels great ~ and i supposed when not using the headphones, you could even use it as a headband in their rainbow of colors… or even mix and match the usually monochromatic Urbanears. These are launching in fall of 2012! See more pics of the details on the next page!
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On interesting interactive installations at CES, Intel had an interactive lifeform generator called the Connect to Life Experience, which was a 168-foot-wide interactive 3D virtual life simulation designed by Stimulant and Foghorn Creative.
Stimulant explains it as follows: “Conference attendees can use any of six stations around the perimeter of the booth to create a shape using their hands, phone, keys — pretty much anything — and the silhouette of that object will be used to generate a unique bioluminescent lifeform on the massive projection surface overhead. The animated lifeforms interact with one another in playful ways, dancing with one another or chasing other lifeforms around the ecosystem.
The system renders approximately 30 billion triangles per second to deliver a 17.6 megapixel image at 60 frames per second, all powered by Intel Core i7 technology. This image is displayed over a 2200 square foot, non-uniform projection-mapped surface using 24 projectors.”
Take a peek at more of my pictures from the experience on the next page ~ there was something very Flow like about the digital ecosystem created ~ and my favorite part ended up being the structure they built where you input the shape/handprint…
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Urbanears always has beautiful color palettes for their monochrome headphones and the most stunning photography/layouts for their lookbooks/displays. This year at CES they showed off two innovative new designs… the first: ZINKEN w/Turncable. These premium over ear DJ headphones have a cable with a 6.3mm adapter (perfect for your turntables/guitars/etc) on one end and a standard headphone 3.5mm plug on the other… and depending which you need, you plug the other into the headphone! Interesting alternative to simply using an adapter to go from 3.5mm to 6.3mm? Take a peek at more pics on the next page…
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*NOTCOT in travel
- 01.13.12 -
Adventures to Poland’s crooked forest, Chicago’s new ledge and the legendary Machu Picchu are all a part of this week’s roundup from NotVentures. Find out more about each destination by clicking on its individual image.