Entries tagged with: nature

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*notcot in nature - 1 Notes

Grow London 2014

grow0.jpg Here’s the latest from NOTCOT’s London-based editor and resident zoologist, Justine Aw.

Last week we attended the garden party preview of Grow London, the contemporary garden fair at Hampstead Heath. While we love the tradition of Chelsea, Grow promised contemporary new solutions for urban gardeners and we were excited to see what it was all about! The preview supported the Garden Museum and offered a fun mix of installations, contemporary garden products and more unusual items like fertilising tea!

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*notcot in nature - 0 Notes

Endless Species by Kathryn Fleming

endless0.jpg Here’s the latest from NOTCOT’s London-based editor and resident zoologist, Justine Aw as she visits the London graduate showcases. This post is from Show RCA 2014.

Another of my highlights from the Design Interactions program was Endless Forms/Endless Species: Explorations in an Evolutionary Development Park by Kathryn Fleming. I loved her combination of imaginary creatures alongside taxidermy and beautifully illustrated field guides. The almost Seussical creations are the charming inhabitants of a fantastical Regent’s Park. We’d love to find wild High Wire Herbivores, Ground Working Insectivores and Retro Reflective Carnivores! See it all up close on the next page.

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*rugenius in nature - 0 Notes

The RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2014

chelsmain.jpg Here’s the latest from London-based editor and resident zoologist, Justine Aw!

This year we were back at the Chelsea Flower Show, which brings together stunning displays of uniformity and diversity through selective breeding, as well as showcasing some incredible design. On a hot, sunny May morning, many plants were flowering early and the displays and show gardens looked incredible. More show highlights including a barbecue-lover’s dream garden, Chelsea pensioner sheep and more on the next page.

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*notcot in playful - 1 Notes

Kraken Black Roses

kraken1.jpg Valentine’s day is around the corner, and the Kraken Rum just surprised us with a V-day card, adorably mini rum, and a black rose! For their Kraken vs Cupid campaign, the lucky folks in London have a chance to pick up a bouquet of black roses paired with a bottle of Kraken (vs champagne)! How do they do it? “The black roses for sale are created by placing dark red roses in vases filled with a Kraken’s ink in place of water. This ink is then transported up the stem, via the xylem, to the leaves and petals turning them black, a scientific process that will also be showcased in the space. For dramatic effect some of the flowers will also be turned black using special floristry dyes.” and they will be paired with “… Calendula Lily Eclips and Queen of the Night Tulips, both darkest purple in colour looking visually black to the human eye.” Take a peek at details of the gorgeously dark surprise we received on the next page! And if you’re in London, visit the Think Ink Florist on Feb 14th!

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*notcot in travel - 0 Notes

ROADTRIP! LA to Park City + Audi Q7 TDI

*notcot in tech - 0 Notes

Oakley Factory Pilots - Der Fliegende Fish

*notcot in nature -

Knopper Galls

gall1.jpg Here’s the latest from NOTCOT’s London-based editor and resident zoologist, Justine Aw.

As we move into late summer, fruits and nuts seem to be forming everywhere in all sorts of shapes and colors. While walking through London, these oddly-shaped green acorns caught my eye, with their ridges, knobs and slightly sticky appearance. On closer inspection, most of the acorns were covered with these intricate, ridged growths, called Knopper Galls. The galls result from a chemical reaction in response to the gall wasp (Andricus quercuscalicis), which lays its eggs on the developing acorns. The shapes and textures of the resulting galls are fascinating (and quite variable). The degree of ridging on the gall is thought to be related to the number of larvae competing within the gall and we found as many as three separate galls on a single developing acorn. Their name “Knopper Galls” comes is thought to be derived from the English word ‘knop’, meaning “a small rounded protuberance, boss, stud, button, tassel or the like” and German ‘knoppe’ meaning “a kind of felt cap or helmet worn during the 17th-century”.

Galls like the ones we found occur on the Pedunculate or Common Oak tree (Quercus robur), but the wasp also requires a second oak species, the Turkey Oak (Quercus cerris) in order to complete its life cycle. Like aphids, the wasp undergoes both a sexual and asexual components of its life cycle. The knopper galls we observed are part of the agamic (female only) generation. Only adult females will emerge from the Knopper galls in the spring and these females will go on to lay their eggs on the catkins of the Turkey Oak. It is from these small conical galls that a sexual generation of male and female wasps will emerge, mate and produce further knopper galls. As a result, knopper galls are only found where both Common and Turkey Oaks grow. While galls have a negative effect on the reproduction of the trees, they don’t appear to harm other aspects of the tree’s health and in a typical biological twist, the wasps themselves are also often parasitized by a number of hyperparasites! You can find out more at ARKive, The Wildlife Trusts and Hedgerow Mobile, but for now see more pics (and my dissection) on the next page!

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*notcot in travel - 2 Notes

Inspiration: Sitka, Alaska

sitka0.jpg On amazing experiences ~ the opportunity randomly came up to spend the last week in Sitka, Alaska salmon fishing, and we had to go! My dad has been going annually with the incredible Angling Unlimited folks for over a decade now, so Shawn and I were thrilled to finally get to join in the fun. Beyond the excitement of finally going to Alaska ~ we were lucky enough to have incredibly beautiful weather, calm seas, and great fishing, and even see many humpback whales, puffins, otters, deer, bald eagles, albatrosses, giant slugs, and so much more! When it happened to drizzle/rain on us ever so slightly, the perfect semi-circle of a rainbow came out. Beyond the wildlife and fantastic fishing ~ we also got to know the adorable island town of Sitka, visiting local bars, the totem park, raptor center, the airports infamous pie spot - Nugget Restaurant, the only brewery on Baranof Island and more… only thing we didn’t make it over to which we’ve shown you before on NOTCOT was the Fortress of the Bear! The sunsets were breathtaking every day too… Take a peek at all the inspiration and randomness we discovered on the last week’s adventure in Sitka, Alaska on the next page!

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*notcot in design - 0 Notes

Gabriela Tomczyk at Central Saint Martins

horn2.jpgHere’s the latest from NOTCOT’s London-based editor and resident zoologist, Justine Aw as she visits the London graduate showcases!

I popped over to the Central Saint Martins 2013 Degree Shows after a day at the Horniman Museum & Gardens and was delighted and surprised to see some of my beloved Natural History specimens within the show, through the illustrations of Gabriela Tomczyk. Natural history museums and art are a natural pairing, and this hasn’t been the first museum/grad show crossover, but it was fantastic to see some of my favorite specimens illustrated so beautifully!

Gabriela’s “London’s Natural Curiosities” took the form of a multi-fold brochure-like series of illustrations and featured some of my favorite London treasures, not only my beloved Horniman Museum & Gardens, but also the Grant Museum of Zoology (see our earlier post on the museum here) and Hunterian Museum. Her sketched pages look like a much friendlier and thoughtful guide to treasures in London and really communicate time taken to enjoy the details and a real appreciation for these museums (and their specimens) and the piece was titled I love that she included specimen numbers too as I recognized specimens like familiar friends! More photos on the next page and on Gabriela Tomczyk’s website and behance.

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*rugenius in design - 0 Notes

Anabela Chan at RCA Show 2013

RCA-show-2013-detail-6127.jpg

Here’s the latest from NOTCOT’s London-based editor and resident zoologist, Justine Aw as she visits the London graduate showcases!

Wandering through the halls of the Battersea campus during press day at Show RCA 2013, I turned the corner to find a beautiful table filled with iridescent natural history curios. I was immediately drawn to the gorgeous glass domes housing beautifully arranged butterfly wings, stunning pieces by Anabela Chan. Chan is a student in Goldsmithing and Metalwork and the intricate sculptures made from butterfly wings are part of her Beauty & The Beast Collection, which she has photographed beautifully. The artist even blew the glass domes herself! The stunning pieces are showcased alongside her jewellery range that also incorporate beautiful, iridescent natural history objects like parrot feathers, beetles and of course, minerals! More photos on the next page.

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*notcot in nature - 1 Notes

LA Natural History Museum Nature Lab

nhm00.jpg On the plane about to land in memphis and battery about to die, but wanted to share this with you first! More details to come soon…

On the must see when in LA list ~ or the, if you live in LA, must see list ~ the LA Natural History Museum’s newest additions the Nature Lab and Nature Gardens literally bring it all to life! Being a born and raised angeleno with a sister who ended up getting her doctorate in animal behavior, you can only imagine how many local creatures large and small i grew up (and continually am) fascinated by all around me… from the parrots, finches, hummingbirds, etc. that constantly take over the yard, to the coyotes, deer, raccoons, alligator lizards, spiders, and so much more… Well for their 100th Birthday, the NHM has brought in quite the selection of living creatures that are all around us in a beautifully designed urban/modern interactive exhibition that is not to be missed. They create such a personal awareness about the interaction and roles that our city and communities have played in the rise and urban evolution of certain species, as well as teaching us all a bit more about all the creatures we encounter (and may not even notice) regularly here in Los Angeles. It was so inspiring to see kids and adults alike completely mesmerized, engaging with the exhibits with giddy smiles as they darted from one thing to the next. I couldn’t help but constantly wonder, “where was THIS when we were kids running around trying to find all these crazy creatures?”

So, we went to the 100th birthday bash for fun, and i wasn’t thinking about it as a post, but it was so exciting, Shawn and i ended up snapping a bunch of cell phone pics to share with Justine, and while cleaning them up, realized the inspiration (both from content and design) was too awesome not to share with you too! Take a peek inside the Nature Lab on the next page!

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*notcot in nature - 1 Notes

NHM 100: Otis Booth Pavilion Unveiling

unveil0.jpg The Los Angeles Natural History 100th Birthday Bash was incredible ~ inspiring, innovative, playful, and filled with incredible energy! From the updates to the displays in their historic building to the launch of their impressive Nature Gardens surrounding the museum and Nature Lab showcasing some of the wildlife that surrounds us all… to the unveiling of the stunning new Otis Booth Pavilion! It resembles an apple store like monstrous two story glass cube with a whale skeleton suspended within, and between performances by GZA/the Genius and DEVO, they had a super heartfelt look back through the history and adventures of the NHM and a look at how LA has evolved over the last century, then the digital whales burst on to the projection… even breaching at the top! and then pretending to break through the glass, dropping the curtains and showing off the new pavilion. So many random pictures from that evening, but first, take a peek at the whale filled unveiling moments in pics and video on the next page!

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*rugenius in nature - 0 Notes

Highlights from the 100th Chelsea Flower Show

garden.jpg Here’s the latest from London-based editor and resident zoologist, Justine Aw from the 100th RHS Chelsea Flower Show!

One of the most incredible aspects of flowers shows like RHS Chelsea is amazing range and breadth of both wild type and cultivated plants. Leaves and flowers come in such a wide variety of shapes, sizes, colors and textures and even closely related cultivars can look strikingly different. Yet, cultivated varieties are bred to consistency and this simultaneous diversity and uniformity are highlighted at shows like Chelsea where large stands are filled with nearly identical blooms of each variety. More photos from Chelsea on the next page.

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*notcot in design - 0 Notes

Invasive Growth by Xuedi Chen

invasive00.jpg Explorations in 3D printing + growing wearable = Xuedi Chen’s Invasive Growth! We’ve been curiously following along on instagram for some time now… and the project is now live! I love that it’s “…inspired by my fascination with cordyceps, a fungal parasite that attacks arthropods. Once infected, the fungus slowly takes control of the insect both mentally and physically. Before the insect dies, the fungus makes it climb high onto a branch and grip on, giving it an advantageous place to spread spores. Once the insect is dead, the cordyceps protrudes out, breaking through the exoskeleton.” And the final pieces play with moss growing on wearable neck/head pieces… imagine a day when you need to water your jewelry regularly? Take a peek at the process and details on the next page!

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*notcot in nature - 4 Notes

Laser Challenges #9 + 10: Bird Feeders

birdfeeder0.jpg This post is part of the NOTlabs Laser Challenge: The ground rules are: Shawn and I are alternating days with executing and sharing a Laser Cutter involved experiment! And most importantly - we’re supposed to have fun, explore ideas, and it’s less about a fully formed product/concept at the end of the day, but more about seeing where the experiment takes us!

Laser Challenges #9 and #10 are here! We’ve slipped behind a tiny bit, but the rules still hold that each project goes from idea to post in less than a day… so today we teamed up for a pair of projects that complement and grew off each other. Looking around NOTlabs, i’ve had glass bottles around that are too pretty to throw away, but we also couldn’t figure out what to do with them (other than vases and as “future projects”) ~ including these Aladdin Sake Bottles and the Sofia Coppola Bottles… we also have a yard full of birds, from finches and jays to parrots and hummingbirds and more… so we decided to try turning them into bird feeders, with just laser cut acrylic and paracord. Of course all of this turned into a fun late night experiment playing with finding the perfect curves (and my learning more rhino from shawn), mastering snap fits down to such tiny measurements, and then a late night bird feeder hanging and photoshoot! Shawn’s #9 turns the wine bottle into a beautiful feeder that plays off of the curves so nicely! My #10 plays off of his ideas and takes them one step further with the stacked sake bottles of food and water (yay for the magic of surface tension) which can also be turned into a finches and little birds on top - hummingbirds downstairs set up. Just took the picture above while sitting here waiting to see if the birds come today… but for now, see the process and details of our two bird feeders on the next page!

p.s. If you have ideas, or want some laser cutting done, or want to play with us… feel free to use the contact form or leave a comment! And if you’re curious about the laser cutter we’re using, here’s the unboxing.

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*notcot in nature - 4 Notes

Spider

spider1.jpg Today’s NOTlabs inspiration is coming from this furry little visitor that just showed up outside… a Jumping (thanks, commenters!) Spider! Couldn’t help taking a few portraits of his fuzzy little face and rusty colored patterned body before relocating him… take a peek on the next page!

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*notcot in tech - 1 Notes

Whole Foods Talking Pineapple Armadillo

armadillo0.jpg HAPPY EARTH DAY! (And the start of Earthling Month!) To celebrate this crazy box just arrived… and upon opening it smelled like… lasered cardboard! (Yes, we’re VERY accustomed to that distinct scent lately.) And inside was Whole Foods’ “PINEAPPLE Ambassador of the Earthlings” which resembles an armadillo… and it TALKS. Seriously. This fun press kit to celebrate Earth Month of April is all about what Whole Foods is doing for the month of April - “transforming itself into a hub for Earthlings — or humans inspired by the earth’s beauty and bounty — to meet up, share ideas and celebrate our planet online and in stores.” You can learn more about what they’re up to at EarthlingMonth.com, but for now, back to this crazy box - which is the “official vessel of the earthling ambassador”… I love that their creature is actually built from food-safe ceramic and recycled electronics, the packaging is reused cardboard, and the impact from chipping has been offset with verified emission reductions purchased from Renewable Choice Energy… and it goes without saying that the pineapple can be consumed… in fact the TALKING ambassador commands you to “Eat Me!” as you’ll see in the video on the next page! So, if you’re ready to see the full unbox and stab the ambassador parts into the pineapple and hear him talk, head to the next page!

p.s. Just updated the post with a peek INSIDE the electronic guts… and he has a HEART!

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*rugenius in nature - 1 Notes

Easter Eggs Live

eggamain.jpg Here’s the latest from London-based editor and resident zoologist, Justine Aw!

Over the past few days, I have had been helping out on the live set behind Channel 4’s Easter Eggs Live, an exciting program that features eggs of all sorts hatching and developing live on air! With so many species about to hatch, there is nonstop action on the live streams which will continue until Monday. The newly hatched babies are pretty adorable too and you can watch them live as well on the live Baby Cams.

It’s been a busy day in the studio, with lots of animals to look after, and nonstop spawning and hatching activity. Check out more photos of the studio behind the scenes and of the incredible eggs, their layers and babies on the next page!

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*notcot in design - 1 Notes

ARThropod Brain

brain00.jpg Wow. Tonight Emilio Garcia presented ARThropod Brain by Tokyoplastic at the Toy Art Gallery… and it is spectacular. Brains + bugs + 3D printing + hand painted high gloss metallics + skull faces + giant jumping brains and so much more… and a chance to meet the artists who have inspired NOTCOT for years now in person! It’s crazy to see that after 8 years of NOTCOTness, and over 53,000 posts that have made the front page of NOTCOT.org over the years, we’ve been writing about Tokyoplastic since the first thousand posts! (Their geisha drum machine flash piece is a classic, and we still reference it regularly) There has also been much love for Emilio Garcia’s Jumping Brains on NOTCOT for years, and they adorn the walls and shelves in NOTlabs too! Fanboying aside - these guys have been great inspiration over the years, and meeting them in person, and seeing this latest collection of work was incredible!

So back to the ARThropod Brain opening tonight is not only a beautiful collection of work, but technologically, it was great to hear that this collaboration came together through their digital models (where you can easily see Emilio’s brain motifs merging with the anatomically precise anthropods of Tokyoplastic) ~ which were then 3D printed by Shapeways, and then hand painted to have their metallic sheens. A nice example of taking 3D printing to the next level to create beautiful works of art - and digital collaboration from across countries! Take a peek at the show details on the next page, as well as Emilio’s new Skull Brains, and some huge jumping brains too!

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*notcot in design - 0 Notes

Gorillas of Isabelle Alford-Lago

gorilla1.jpg There is an amazing Gorilla that appears to be leaning on an ad/bench at Pacific and Brooks in Venice that i drive by every few days and have been meaning to stop and take a pic of for ages! To my delight, today on Yo! Venice!, they have shared the new mural above that just popped up on Abbot Kinney on the side of Topo Ranch… and even better, it brought me to the world of Isabelle Alford-Lago’s amazing gorillas! This Santa Cruz native went to USC, and currently works and lives right here in Venice, CA ~ which explains why so many of her gorilla murals have been popping up nearby. Take a peek at some of my favorites on the next page!

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*rugenius in nature - 0 Notes

A study of Butterfly Wings by Linden Gledhill

lgledhill-bw-bluewhitebutterflywing.jpg Here’s the latest natural inspiration from our resident zoologist and London based editor, Justine Aw.

Photographer Linden Gledhill, who describes himself as “a biochemist by training, working for a large international pharmaceutical company developing biopharmaceuticals (protein molecules) to treat cancer and diabetes”, but whom you may know from his stunning work for Dentsu and Canon, photographs of snowflakes and homegrown snowflakes!

Linden has always had a fascination with the physical world, particularly nature and uses photography to capture the feeling of awe and inspiration that he feels. I love the way his work captures colors and textures and reveals entire worlds that are otherwise overlooked. In his butterfly wings series, Gledhill uses varying levels of magnification to show the tapestry of scales that make of the wings and the huge variety of scales themselves.

See lots of pictures on the next page!

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*notcot in home+decor - 0 Notes

Rootcup

rootcup1.jpg Rootcup - love this simple, elegant solution to growing plant cuttings! Designed by product development firm, good3studio of Michael Good in San Francisco. The root cups are molded from a flexible elastomer that’s highly UV resistant, nonporous, and water proof, and have such nice details! The flexible lid helps protect the roots from light, holds the cutting’s leaves above water, captures evaporating water, and has a slot to help easily remove cuttings when ready for planting… and it now comes in a BIGrootcup as well… or it nearly does, their kickstarter campaign just successfully completed for the big ones! See more details of both sizes on the next page!

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*rugenius in nature - 1 Notes

Sinobug: Macrophotography of John Horstman

mainbugs.jpg Here’s the latest natural inspiration from our resident zoologist and London based editor, Justine Aw.

My fascination in animal behavior stems back to the creepy crawlies I spent hours watching when I was young. Inverts were a bit of an obsession of mine (I was even a member of SASI as a child!), and as a result I’ve still got a soft spot for them. I’m lucky enough to dabble in entomology in my volunteering behind the scenes at the Horniman Museum and biodiversity work for Mudchute Park & Farm, but it doesn’t quite satiate my appetite for ‘bugs’. That’s where blogs like John Horstman’s Sinobug come in. I discovered the blog through reddit’s whatsthisbug (a guilty pleasure) and have been a loyal reader ever since! I mean, sure I’ve encountered a fair few cool insects along the Rio Negro, but Horstman’s images coming from Pu’er, China are mind-blowing. Not only are they incredibly beautiful composites of textures, colors and patterns, they’re even shedding light on some of these species scientifically. See some of our favorites on the next page!

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*notcot in nature - 0 Notes

Natalya Zahn & Oscar to Bucky

zahnbucky0.jpg I was at a loss for words as i took these pictures. The most incredibly sweet package came for Bucky today. Like mind blowing amazing. Our favorite Natural Illustrator, Natalya Zahn, and her gorgeous Rhodesian Ridgeback, Oscar, created the most thoughtful and touching package of goodies for us. From Perfect Pumpkin Pup-Treats, complete with recipe… to BUCKY WRAPPING PAPER filled with illustrations of some of his instagramed puppy moments… and a USB key with the originals and more! I can’t imagine a more beautiful way to remember our adorable NOTpuppy’s precious puppy time as he gets bigger so so fast! Take a peek at all of the loveliness on the next page!

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*rugenius in nature - 2 Notes

More Than Human by Tim Flach

book.jpg The latest from London-based editor and resident zoologist, Justine Aw.

The latest book from Tim Flach has the loaded title “More Than Human” and is based on the artist’s photo series that explores the relationship between humans and animals. The book is a beautiful collection of hundreds of stunning images of a wide range of incredible creatures. In addition to the book, Flach’s ‘More Than Human’ series will also be the basis of a new show at the Osborne Samuel gallery this December and we were invited to his East London studio for a launch to celebrate the new book!

I actually discovered this amazing project through my work at the aquarium at the Horniman Museum & Gardens in London, as some of the aquarium’s jellyfish feature in the series! Here are a few photos of the photographer at work behind the scenes at the Horniman aquarium (and the stunning images he captured!). More highlights from the launch, images from the book and behind the scenes photos on the next page!

The shoot sounds like an incredible experience, bringing snakes, bats and other creatures to Flach’s Shoreditch studio as well as shooting on location at nearby sites like the Horniman as well as a wide range of locations internationally. The resulting photo series captures the beauty and individuality of its subjects and draws your eye into the beauty in the detail and structure of the individual. More highlights from the launch and photo series on the next page!

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