Sunday, December 18, 2011

The Giants' Jason Pierre-Paul

Ink and Water Color Explosion

"U.K. photographer Mark Mawson has added another impressive group of photographs to his already amazing portfolio. Entitled Aqueous Fluoreau, the series is an extension of a previous group of work similarly titled called Aqueous. Using ink and water, Mawson uses a secret technique to take these remarkable photographs that he is not sharing."

See more images here.

Oh, those wacky, wacky Germans

Friday, November 18, 2011

My life as a turkey

No, not my autobiography! Rather, one of the most fascinating nature documentaries I've ever seen, as naturalist Joe Hutto shares his story of living with wild turkeys for more than a year. Your Thanksgiving will never be the same!

Click here to see the episode from the PBS series 'Nature'.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011


A terrific slide show and narration by Wendy Stein of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, concerning handwriting.


Friday, November 04, 2011

Poor Penmanship Spells Job Security for Post Office's Scribble Specialists

"A man in Emden, Mo., recently mailed a letter that he had addressed, in a scribble, to somebody in "Shelhjreille, Mo." That's the way his handwriting made it look, anyhow.

The letter was delivered the next day. Gary Oliver, a postal clerk 1,200 miles away, got it there. Mr. Oliver works in the Salt Lake City "Remote Encoding Center" of the U.S. Postal Service—a room where hundreds of clerks sit in silence, day and night, staring at America's worst-addressed envelopes."

Read the full article here.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Star Trek Enterprise Light-Up Feeding System from ThinkGeek

Why oh why didn't they have this for me when I was a baby? Something to look forward to when I get too old to feed myself though!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Steve Jobs in Heaven

Thank-you cards from China pose mystery for WWII vets

"The postcard arrived in Ed Denzler's mailbox in Pearland last month, a mystery from his past nestled among the routine bills and coupons.

Addressed in neat block letters to Denzler, the handwritten note reads, in English: "It takes a strong man to save himself, a great man to save another. Thank you for 1944. From China."

On the front is a black-and-white photograph of U.S. and Chinese service members listening to an American with a fiddle accompany two Chinese soldiers on traditional stringed instruments called erhus

The card was mailed from China, postmarked Aug. 27, and had Chinese writing on the back that Denzler couldn't decipher."

Click here to read the rest of this fascinating story.

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Rolling off the 3D printing press... the world's first 'printed' car - and it actually works

"The world’s first 'printed' car has finally rolled off the printing press.

The 'Urbee' was made using a special printer which built up layer upon layer of bodywork - almost as if the car was 'painted' into existence, except using layers of ultra-thin composite that are slowly 'fused' into a solid.

But unlike most 'innovations' in cars, this one won't break down after 5 years - Urbee is built to last 30. Project leader Jim Kor, told MailOnline today: 'For us, this unveiling was quite a milestone."

More photos and article here.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Saturday, September 17, 2011


Follow @thnk_org
PEOPLE | When you’re super smart and want to learn – or simply don’t fit the mold – what other choice do you have? Some of the world’s greatest creative leaders didn’t have the patience to earn their degree. They dropped out, found a way to create the type of education they needed. And changed our world.

School’s not for everyone. All that linear thinking and standardized examination. Looking at the article “8 famous Harvard drop outs not named Gates or Zuckerberg”, you see an impressive list of people who just didn’t fit in, and yet made it somehow. On their own, or with some help.

Edwin Land, co-founder of Polaroid, dropped out to focus on research. In his lifetime he had registered than 500 patents and introduced the world to instant photography. Then there’s Buckminster Fuller, certainly one of the geniuses of the 20th century. He dropped out, went back, got bored and dropped out again. And went on to invent the geodesic dome.

Interestingly enough, once they’d proven themselves to the world, many of these dropouts later received honorary degrees. Not to bash Harvard, but it’s as if they wanted to claim credit retroactively for creating these innovative souls.

It’s tempting to think of what Bucky and Bill and Edwin would have been able to achieve had their education better suited their needs. Perhaps a single institution wasn’t enough – or maybe the concept “institution” is all wrong, and these famous dropouts had to drop out in order to find the various bits and pieces of education and inspiration and experimentation they needed to achieve that gut feeling we call “vision”.

Dropping out is nothing new. In fact, it seems like a good old tradition in some worlds. Back in 1962, TIME magazine’s list of famous dropouts included astronauts Scott Carpenter and John Glenn, President John F Kennedy, Pulitzer Prize winning poet Robert Frost, Nobel Prize in Literature winner, William Faulkner…

If that’s the company dropouts are keeping, count me in!

“College psychiatrists by no means disapprove of all dropouts,” the 1962 Time article says. “If dropouts lack ‘motivation,’ it may be a healthy reaction against too many rules and goals that—for them—are momentarily false.” And perhaps dropping out actually provided the motivation needed to look elsewhere for a satisfactory learning experience, and the chance to create something no one every imagined possible.

Image: Buckminster Fuller stamp issued by the US Post Office

Author: Claire Taylor
Date: September 16th, 2011

Read the article and find interesting links here.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

In Case You Wondered, a Real Human Wrote This Column

Business Day In Case You Wondered, a Real Human Wrote This Column By STEVE LOHR Published: September 10, 2011 Using more than a decade of research, a start-up company is taking computer-generated news articles to a more sophisticated level. Read the full article here.

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

From Scroll to Screen

From Scroll to Screen
Published: September 2, 2011
Centuries before e-books changed the way people read, the codex replaced the scroll.

Click the title to read the article

Thursday, August 25, 2011

This guy is a riot. I read about his slingshot channel in this month's issue of 'Wired'. Here's one to get you started:

I remember my father making me a 'machine gun' slingshot when I was a boy. It only fired one rubberband at a time, but it looked like a machine gun, including a removable 'clip'. :-) I wish I'd kept it!

Monday, August 08, 2011

Fountain of imagination and joy in the hand - Opinion - Editorial - General - The Canberra Times

File photo: Getty

"It's true that fountain pens are anachronistic: relics of an age before television and radio, let alone internet and mobile phones. Moreover, they have acquired a certain status. For my parents' generation, they evoke ink-spills, exercise books and schoolroom whippings. Nowadays, they are a mark of wealth or style, particularly if they are topped by Mont Blanc's white snowflake. But my pen is not primarily a status symbol. It is a simple, useful tool..."

Click the title to read the rest of the editorial

When Data Disappears

When Data Disappears
Published: August 6, 2011
To avoid a “digital dark age,” we have to rethink preservation.

LAST spring, the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas acquired the papers of Bruce Sterling, a renowned science fiction writer and futurist. But not a single floppy disk or CD-ROM was included among his notes and manuscripts. When pressed to explain why, the prophet of high-tech said digital preservation was doomed to fail. “There are forms of media which are just inherently unstable,” he said, “and the attempt to stabilize them is like the attempt to go out and stabilize the corkboard at the laundromat.”

Click title to read full article

Friday, July 29, 2011

Handwriting in the Digital Age

A very interesting radio interview on the subject! Just click on the title above to go to the webpage, then click on 'Listen'.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Yafa New Building Opening and Speech

YAFA is the parent company of Monteverde and Conklin pens, as well as the distributor for Delta and Stipula from Italy.

If we're not careful, our children will soon be signing their names with an X

Nearly the whole of the US has stopped teaching joined-up writing in schools. Soon we will be doing the same here

by Michele Hanson

"It is time to panic. Another US state, Indiana, can't be fagged to teach joined-up writing in its primary schools. US core standards say it doesn't have to, so it isn't going to. It is the 42nd state to give up on joined-up writing and concentrate on keyboard skills. That is nearly the whole of the US, and if it is doing it, you can bet your life we will soon be doing it – which means the end of civilisation as we know it. In my opinion.

It will be goodbye to improved hand-eye co-ordination, individuality, personal touch, diaries, thank-you and love letters, fine motor control, communication with anyone who isn't glued to a screen, and pretty gorgeous italic handwriting such as mine.

"You're past your sell-by date," says Fielding rudely. "We've moved on. You're flogging a dead duck."

No I am not. Even Rosemary agrees. She is thrilled when a handwritten letter plops through the letter box. "But I'm not expecting them to go back to dip-pens, inkwells and blotting paper," says she. "They can use ballpoint pens." How moderate she is. Ballpoint pen-writing doesn't look half as lovely, and has no character. Were I in charge, I'd have fountain pens with levers, and half-an-hour compulsory joined-up practice a day in all junior schools, otherwise, before we know it, they'll all be signing their names with an X, and it will be only e-birthday and Christmas cards, so you won't be able to put them on your mantelpiece. Don't ever send me an e-card, anybody, thank you very much.

Not that I don't appreciate technology. It is bliss to be able to cut, paste, copy, scan, send and all the rest of it in a millisecond, but we need both. Old and new, otherwise one day, when all the power goes, or some crazed hyper-blogger manages to cock-up the whole system and everything ever written on screens dwiddles off into the ether, I and all the others you techno-people have dismissed as nostalgic wets stuck in the dark ages, will be proved right, and we'll be out in what's left of the streets, writing our memoirs by hand and shouting: "I TOLD YOU SO."

Thursday, July 07, 2011

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Friday, May 27, 2011

Show Your Thanks to World War II Vets by Watching This 2-min Video

My father Alan -- like many veterans -- never talked about WWII, except for one or two humorous incidents. Passing away at age 63, he was decades from being able to visit the memorial. My godfather George however, still meets regularly with his buddies from the the 10th Mountain Division. I was named Norman after a mutual friend of my father and godfather -- who died while serving in Italy during the war.

Watch the video here.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Bob Dylan: To my fans and followers

Bob Dylan has written a letter to his fans (first one I recall in his almost 70 years), about the 'controversy' surrounding his trip to China and the reports that he accepted censorship of some of his songs. Read it here.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Loosening China’s Grip on Table Tennis

Published: May 13, 2011
As players of Chinese ethnicity continue to dominate, the sport’s governing body recently changed its rules to make it harder for players to represent other countries after relocating.

It's always good to see coverage of table tennis. There are lots of familiar names in this article for me, including David Zhuang, who was my coach prior to the '92 Paralympic Games.

Monday, May 02, 2011

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Weathering a Midlife Crisis In the Haunts of Table Tennis

As part of a midlife crisis last April, Bob Eckstein embarked on a tour of New York City’s table tennis haunts, seeking to build street cred and finally master the game.

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

Click the title to read the NY Times article.

The author mentions taking lessons from 'The Chief', George Braithwaite, who had been a member of the U.S. delegation to China -- part of 'Ping Pong' diplomacy instigated during the Nixon administration.

I also had the pleasure of playing with the ageless Braithwaite, who was my first coach's (Sam Hammond of Ghana) practice partner back in the '70s. You can read a bit more about that if interested here.

Friday, April 15, 2011

The Mirrors Project

What simple, yet really terrific idea. I've contributed -- hope you will too.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

China to build racket-shaped hotel

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos
'The design idea is from ping-pong. An erected ping-pong racket has a perfect architectural shape for a hotel,' said Jin Chang, director with Huainan Municipal Bureau of Sports. -- PHOTO: CHINA DAILY

CHINA - A 150M TALL hotel designed in the shape of a ping-pong racket will be built in Huainan city, East China's Anhui province, as part of a complex to tap the wealth of the sports industry.

The hotel, located in a planned Olympic park covering an area of over 67 hectares, has an estimated investment of 300 million yuan (S$58 million). It will feature three parts, the top designed for sight-seeing, the middle will house guest rooms, and bottom used for conference facilities.

'The design idea is from ping-pong. An erected ping-pong racket has a perfect architectural shape for a hotel,' said Jin Chang, director with Huainan Municipal Bureau of Sports.

The buildings were all designed by Mei Jikui, a renowned architect for sports structures. Supporting facilities such as a swimming pool are also included in the plans.

Sunday, April 03, 2011

F.B.I. Seeks Help Cracking Code in Victim’s Notes

Published: March 31, 2011
The F.B.I. is asking for the public’s help in deciphering two encrypted notes found on a man who was killed in 1999.

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Buckminster Fuller's Dymaxion car lives again

Architect Norman Foster recreates Bucky's Dymaxion car from the 1930's.

Lord Foster's Dymaxion Car from Metropolis magazine on Vimeo.

"What inspired you to recreate Bucky’s famous Dymaxion Car?

Bucky is never far from my thoughts. We collaborated on projects for the last twelve years of his life. When I was awarded the Royal Guild Gold medal in London, he gave the talk. At that point we had decided to do houses for each other. So he came over and we talked about the project. He gave the talk and then he left for America, off to see his terminally ill wife, Ann, in the hospital. On arrival, he had a fatal heart attack at her bedside and she died thirty six hours later. Curiously, on that trip to England, he said to me, “You know, Norman, anytime, I can pull the plug.” I guess that’s when he pulled the plug. He got there and realized that his wife wasn’t going to recover."

Click the title bar to read the full interview with Norman Foster

Jimmy Fallon channels Dylan

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Watson on Jeopardy

Very impressive -- until Tuesday night's Final Jeopardy answer! Since when is Toronto a U.S. city?

Watch the full episode. See more NOVA.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Gas explosion in Allentown

Although we didn't realize the cause until the next day, our power went out for about 10 seconds at the time of the explosion. It took place on 13th Street, and we're near 26th.

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Heather Knight: Silicon-based comedy

National Archives Discovers Date Change on Lincoln Record

"Washington, DC…Archivist of the United States David S. Ferriero announced today that Thomas Lowry, a long-time Lincoln researcher from Woodbridge, VA, confessed on January 12, 2011, to altering an Abraham Lincoln Presidential pardon that is part of the permanent records of the U.S. National Archives. The pardon was for Patrick Murphy, a Civil War soldier in the Union Army who was court-martialed for desertion.

Lowry admitted to changing the date of Murphy’s pardon, written in Lincoln’s hand, from April 14, 1864, to April 14, 1865, the day John Wilkes Booth assassinated Lincoln at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, DC. Having changed the year from 1864 to 1865, Lowry was then able to claim that this pardon was of significant historical relevance because it could be considered one of, if not the final official act by President Lincoln before his assassination....

Against National Archives regulations, Lowry brought a fountain pen into a National Archives research room where, using fadeproof, pigment-based ink, he altered the date of the Murphy pardon in order to change its historical significance."

Click the title bar to see a video and photos of the alteration

Evolving fractals

Surface detail from subBlue on Vimeo.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Active Camouflage System Uses E-Ink to Make Tanks Invisible on the Battlefield

"Tank camouflage has come a long way since the good old days of painting them green and slapping a white star on the side. British defense tech firm BAE Systems is developing an active “e-camouflage” system that will employ a form of electronic ink to project imagery of a vehicles surrounding terrain, rendering the vehicle somewhat invisible to potential attackers."

Click the title bar to read the entire article