Archive for the ‘Cool Shite’ Category

Community Art

January 19, 2009


Today is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day in the U.S.  Yesterday I saw this really cool painting of Martin Luther King, Jr. hanging in the lobby of a school.   I tried to find a picture of the painting on the internet, but the best I could find was the photograph the painting was based on (above).

So the cool thing about the painting is that it was a community art project, involving the students, the faculty, and the neighbors surrounding the school.  For a few days in the lobby of the school, there was a lead artist present, along with multiple shades of gray paint laid out in trays (more or less corresponding to the different shades in the original photograph).  Throughout the day, people would come, place their hands palm-side down in one of the paint-filled trays, and the lead artist would show them where to place their handprints.  In the end, there was this really nice painting of Martin Luther King, Jr. made from the handprints of the community.  Fitting, isn’t it?  A community coming together to paint a portrait of a man who spent his life bringing communities together?

Have any of you seen any kind of artwork similar to this?  Something that was made by a community, with its active participation?


The Story of Stuff

January 18, 2009

Hey hey hey GBD!

This is going to be the only post from me today because…well…because I’m busy.  lol.  This is something that I’ve been meaning to post for a while now, but never found a good time for it because the video is about 20 minutes long.  But don’t let that scare you away!  It’s a really good, informative video that introduces you to “the story” of our stuff…where it comes from, where it goes when we’re done with it, etc.  Some people might stop watching it after a couple minutes because they’ll think they’re in school again.  😉  But I think the host does a really good job of maintaining your interest about something that can get bogged down in details and bore the heck out of people.  So stick with it because I think most of us want to be aware of how our decisions affect the rest of our world and the people in it.  And don’t worry…it’s not like a super-depressing video that’s going to make you feel like crap.  Unless you’re from the States, like me.  Hahaha!  I kid, I kid.  Sort of.  Anyway, the point of the video is to encourage you to be more active and aware of the decisions you make when you buy stuff.

The video above is a teaser trailer for The Story of Stuff video.  If you’d like to watch the whole thing, click on one of the links below.

The Story of Stuff (English version)

The Story of Stuff (International version – includes many languages to choose from, like Spanish, Portuguese, French, Mandarin, Arabic, etc.)

Also, if you haven’t already checked out Chloe B’s introduction to Aberystwyth, Wales…what the heck are you waiting for?  Her post is a few posts below this one.  And keep ’em coming!  We’ve got one about Bulgaria from Megi, and one about Quebec from MarilyneL in the queue.  Whoohoo!

Enjoy the rest of your Sunday GBD!

Passport to: Aberystwyth, Wales

January 17, 2009

(“A” marks the spot where Aberystwyth is.)

GBD GBD GBD!  Today is a special day because today is the VERY FIRST edition of the finding-out-about-other-places-and-cultures-idea-thingie.  Remember?  Introducing Chloe B (aka “The Wales Girl” aka “cbee17”), from Aberystwyth.  Here’s what she wrote:



I live in a little university town in Wales in the UK called Aberystwyth (but moved from London to here about two years ago), and it’s pretty much bilingual language wise between Welsh and English. The people are kind of varied, cos sometimes there’s a little hostility by those who speak welsh and think everyone should…but generally people are ok, and the students aren’t bad, plus it’s cool because you got people from all over the place. Sadly there isn’t a lot to do around here…there’s the arts centre that is with the university which has a little theatre which sometimes has good productions, and a cinema in it, but most people (I mean the younger generation including moi lol) prefer our little local one, which only has one screen -.- and shows one film a week so we only really get the big films. Aber’s right on the coast too, so I’m near the beach. But it’s annoying because Aber isn’t exactly a city it’s quite difficult to travel between towns (and there’s only one main route to connect us to everywhere by road lol… and only one train line) so most of my friends travel about two hours by bus to get to school which makes it difficult to see them outside of school. A definite place to visit is Constitution Hill which has a railway going up, or you can walk, and at the top you can see the whole of Aberystwyth and a great view of the sea. But yeah that’s pretty much all the places you can visit! I guess people talk about normal stuff…and there aren’t really any traditions. Food, generally normal but apparently the Welsh are keen on stew (I repeat here that I’m not Welsh lol). But the scenery is lovely, and the place is great for a short visit, but to live it’s kind of dull, but I don’t mind cos I sometimes prefer the slowness to city life. Erm…attitudes to women? I suppose if you look at the general families, it’s kind of old fashioned with mums at home, and with some people you can detect a bit of sexism which I won’t go into, but I’d say there definitely is some around. But yeah again that’s only really with the older generations, the youth around here are very open-minded and have great ambitions, most of my friends all want to go to Uni (not here though :P)


Thanks Chloe for telling us about Aberystwyth!

So whaddya think guys?  Isn’t this so cool??

How big are you?

January 16, 2009

A representation of our sun (on the left) compared to other stars in the universe.

And last but not least, we’ve got Emma-Lu coming through with the following bit.  I’m only including the link because there are a lot of pictures, and text corresponding with the pictures, etc….so I figured it would be easier to give you the link instead of trying to reproduce everything here.  I do have a life after all.  😉  But check it out.  It’s pretty amazing, the sizes of everything relative to each other, and how much is out there, beyond our planet.


Isn’t that weird?  Emma-Lu sent me this not long after I made yesterday’s post about the Scales of the Universe, but before that post was published.  So we were both kind of thinking of the same thing around the same time.  OooOooOoo.  😉

And that does it for me today.  Not that I really did much since today’s content was all provided by you gals.  Again, thank you so much to everyone who contributed.  Despite the cold outside, I will go to sleep warm with the knowledge that GBD peepz rock.  🙂

Tunable Glasses

January 15, 2009

A Zulu man wearing adaptive glasses. (photo: Michael Lewis for The Guardian)

You ever notice how water in a glass will distort things?  Like this…


…so that things will look closer or bigger than they really are?

Well, a physicist has finally figured out how to use that property of water to make “tunable” eyeglasses.  Starting back in 1985, Josh Silver embarked on a mission to help the world’s poor see better.  He knew that many areas of the world didn’t have access to optometrists or couldn’t afford prescription glasses.  So he invented glasses that let wearers adjust their own “prescription.”

How?  The plastic lenses have clear circular sacs filled with fluid.  The wearer uses a syringe to add or remove fluid.  Adding more fluid increases the power of the lens (in the same way that thicker lenses are stronger in regular glasses).

Can you imagine what this means?  Think of all the things you need good eyesight for.  To be able to see is a tremendous improvement in quality of life.  People can read, thread needles, mend their clothes, make a living, support their families.

So far, about 30,000 pairs have been distributed in 15 countries, but Silver hopes to offer these glasses to a billion of the world’s poorest people by 2020.  Within the next year, he and his team plan to distribute 1 million pairs in India.

See?  Science is cool!  🙂

You can read the article here.

Too Fun with Funtwo

January 14, 2009

The following video is brought to you courtesy of Jessica F.  All together now…”Thanks Jessica F!”  🙂

The video is of an electric guitar rendition of Pachelbel’s Canon, performed by funtwo.

So who is this mysterious capped musician with the nimble fingers, bathed in holy light?  His name is Lim Jeong-hyun, from South Korea.  Except for a month of lessons, he is a self-taught guitarist.  I don’t know much about guitar-playing, but apparently this guy is really, really good, which is why he shot to internet fame when other guitarists saw him play the Canon Rock song (the version arranged by Jerry Chang, aka JerryC).  After seeing his virtuoso skill, so many people wanted to know who he was that a couple years ago, a reporter from The New York Times tracked him down and wrote an article about him.

This all reminds me of another YouTube video I saw a long time ago, in which a comedian complains about Pachelbel’s Canon.  Comedy and classical music.  Who knew?

All hail Jessica F for the video!  😀

Harmonica + Beatbox

January 11, 2009

Apparently the video wasn’t showing up.  Who knows why.  I swear it was working before when I first made the post.  Anyway, I fixed the link, so it should work now.  Sorry about that.

(Harmonica + Beatbox performed by Yuri Lane)

I just thought this was cool.  The performer, Yuri Lane, is making the percussion sounds with his mouth WHILE he’s playing the harmonica.

You can visit Yuri Lane’s website here.  He also has an album out called Human Beatbox.

January 8, 2009

Concrete Illusions

January 4, 2009

Have any of you seen Julian Beever’s work?  He’s an artist who is probably best known for his optical illusion pavement drawings, like the ones below.

White Water Rafting by Julian Beever

Batman and Robin by Julian Beever

Meeting Madame Butterfly by Julian Beever

Worldcard by Julian Beever

I don’t know how he does it because it’s hard enough drawing something big on pavement.  But Beever not only draws these big works on pavement, he has to draw them warped so that they have that optical illusion effect.  For example, this is how one of his drawings, called Make Poverty History, looks head-on:

But this is how that same drawing looks from the side:

People never cease to amaze me.

You can see more of Julian Beever’s pavement drawings here.  He also has examples of his wall murals and fine art paintings on his site.


December 30, 2008

So, I am updating this from my awesome iPhone. I am so in love with this gadget!

What kind of phones do you all use?

Ps. Yes, I know this is a short post but well worth the discussion in my opinion!