Time Zero: The Last Year of Polaroid Film is a documentary about lovers of instant-photography, made after Polaroid company announced ceasing production of instant films. Maybe it is true that Polaroid photography is magic created by little elves in the camera, and perhaps we should feed them for the sake of keeping this disappearing form of image capturing alive.
I have small ears. That makes it almost impossible for me to wear any kind of headphones that go into my ears for prolonged periods of time without giving me pain. Since I love listening to music, and do not own a megatronic sound system, earphones/headphones are my only solution. I am always on the hunt for good headphones that are stylish, light in weight, and have excellent sound quality. And I think I finally found one that combines all my requirements:
Aëdle is a Paris based startup company that is about to launch their first limited-edition headphone VK-1 in select stores starting April 2013. VK-1 is stunning in its minimalistic design, combining soft leather and aluminum that is built to perfection by hand. With titanium and neodymium components, VK-1 delivers a high-performance audio with the lightness of its luxurious design. You can pre-order for February 2013 delivery at their website, and while you are there, be sure to watch their video on the VK-1 headphone story.
Yet another indie rock band from New York City came into my view today. School Of Seven Bells' last album Ghostory - released in Feb. 2012 - tells the story of a girl lost in her quest to understand life through the ghosts that populate her mind. The moods of this band swings from the calmness of Enya to dreaminess of Mint Julep to boisterousness of Kate Bush, making it mesmerizingly sinister at times. A captivating album indeed.
Working for the Diabetes business of world's largest bio-medical company, I take every opportunity to learn about this disease. The history of this disease seems to go back many centuries, and Egyptians have left the oldest recorded information on how to diagnose and remedy it along with many others.
The Ebers Papyrus is one of the oldest and most complete medical records that has remained intact to this day, that offers ways to examine possible diabetes patients, magical chants for relief, and an array of foods from honey to juniper berries for dietary supplements in curing the disease.
It has become my Monday night ritual to attend The Happy Hour Story Experiment at The Hollywood Studio Bar and Grill, and I always stay for the What's Up Tiger Lily show. One of the comedians on WUTL was Tony Sam. If you can catch a show with him, don't miss it, and hope for his Twitter 101 class!
As the sweet anticipation for my impending trip to Machu Picchu rapidly builds up, recommendations from dear friends keep flooding in as well. The latest came from a hiking friend with a guarantee to make me laugh while educating. The book Turn Right At Machu Picchu: Rediscovering the Lost City One Step at a Time is about the unadventurous author Mark Adams' adventure to the ancient city to recreate the original 1911 discovery trip of Hiram Bingham III.
Book purchased and added to the top of the reading list! Thanks, J! Board Game night was as awesome as the hike!
Hotel Marques de Ristal looks like a pretty colored heap of crumpled metal thrown on the backhills of the capricious little village of Elciego, Spain. This luxurious hotel, clashing with all things that surround it, is a masterpiece by the great architect Frank O. Gehry.
Every space in this elegantly designed building is worth spending at least a moment of your time to experience the outer and inner views through the vast spaces left to surround you in your solace.
A special destination, indeed, especially for Europhiles, and wine enthusiasts.
Aaaaaand I found the ONE! The one bike I want (and of course need)! And I mean, reeeaaaaaly want!
Public is a San Francisco based company that makes bicycles to reclaim the urban streets. Its founder Rob Forbes is a design conscious man who also founded Design Within Reach. Here's a video of him sharing his thoughts on why design matters:
Yes! I will get the special edition polka dot bicycle with all the "gear" that it can come with; a rear rack with spring clip, a red brass bell, a basket in the front, the polka dot red helmet, and of course the flower vase!
A new material developed recently by Swiss scientists, mimics the structural behavior of tendons connecting to bones, and makes it possible to have electronic circuits that can be stretched without breaking the connections between components. The flexibility this material brings might have many surgical applications as well as wearable electronics.
Jake Barton recently gave a speech at Leaders In Software and Art Conference LISA2012 at the Guggenheim Museum about a new kind of museum experience where the visitors touch and manipulate the exhibited artworks through digital medium. This connection created between technology and art is a shared land of endless creativity for the museum enthusiasts like myself.
It makes my spine tingle to know that my most favorite actor of the past year is in the next Star Trek movie - Star Trek Into Darkness. Here's the Japanese trailer teaser with a little bit of extra footage:
Tugboat Printshop owners Valerie Lueth and Paul Roden spend long hours bent over pieces of wood, hand-carving the beautiful images they print. Their latest, and largest work is a beautiful visage of moon.
Today's learning came from a friend who is the master of minimalistic lifestyle. We were talking about food, and tools to make and eat food, and, as always, he picked that perfect moment to introduce me to the very simple and elegant designs of Sori Yanagi - a Japanese designer of many things. His designs, spanning outside of the realm of kitchens to bridges, cars, and olympic flames, reflect his light-hearted & lively disposition in elementary lines, and uncomplicated curves. His products can be found at places like MoMA, both on exhibition, and for purchase.
One of the newest and very exciting discoveries in Neurosciences is that different sensations in the neural paths can be stimulated by pulsing ultrasound to periphery of humans. This discovery has very promising applications especially in pain diagnosis as well as treatment of neuropathy in diabetic patients. The application of pulsating ultrasound waves to areas like fingertips causes sensations like pain, itching, heat, or tingling, depending on the setting. Makes me wonder if it will be possible to induce more favorable sensations like love, and happiness one day.
For as far back as I can remember, I always visualized a year as a ring of colors representing changing of seasons, and I imagine myself standing on the side of the ring depending on the date. My ring of seasons is not a perfect circle, but rather an oval on which the winter and summer reside on the longer sides. Apparently, I am not the only human being with such a visualization of movement of time. The inventor, and filmmaker Scott Thrift had a similar conundrum for visualizing what present means in the movement of time, so he came up with 'The Present', a clock with a single arm that completes a single cycle every 365 days, and has a color scheme to mark the changing of seasons. He put his project on Kickstarter a year ago, and successfully made it to the commercial market. I am not sure if I will get one of his clocks or hold on to the image in my head, but if I ever get his product, I'll have to hang it upside-down!
It was a very pleasant surprise to find my new FitBit One waiting for me when I came back home from my yoga class tonight. This little gadget will be my new motivation to keep moving, and collecting data about my activities. The best part is, it syncs wirelessly with all my Apple products!
Microarchitecture is becoming the macro solution for portability of living spaces with small footprints. Urban Square is one such company that has come up with DROP - small bubbles of hotel rooms - that can be dropped anywhere to your liking with all the conveniences of a regular hotel room but with much more spectacular views!
New York company Alexander Olch's amazing collection of men's accessories are so touchably attractive. The attention to detail in their products is note-worthy. I am especially impressed by their selection of handmade ties made from Fine British Wool, Superfine Peruvian Alpaca Wool, Italian Cashmere, Superfine Cotton, and Repp Silk. If you are in New York this weekend, stop by Pop Up Flea V - they will be there.
Plateau Problem asks the question if at least one minimal surface - the mathematical equivalent of a soap film - span every conceivable closed curve in space. While this question perplexed mathematicians for a very long time, it also inspired German architect Frei Otto to create buildings from soap bubble prototypes.
My father and I left very early, not knowing what time the next ferryboat across the Bosphorus would be. Drove from Çamlık to the historic Kadıköy district with ease, and started looking for the parking garage my brother recommended. If you've ever traveled to Istanbul, you know what a maze those older parts of the city can become under your wheels while you are looking for the most obvious of places. Of course we ended up getting lost, and unintentionally started following a trolley!
After hitting several dead end streets, and driving backwards for a while, we finally found a parking spot conveniently located across from the ferry docks. We got our old style ferry tokens, and waited just for a few minutes in the historical building before the doors opened to the flood of people to board our ride:
On the ride to the European side, I opted for the starboard side of the ferry, and got a good view of the monumental historic Haydarpaşa train station:
The Maiden Tower:
A half hour ride brought us to Beşiktaş on the European side of Istanbul, where we took a cab to my final destination at Nişantaşı where I met with one of my best friends since middle school. Along the way we passed by yet another historical building in Maçka, which currently houses the Mining Engineering Department of Istanbul Technical University, and where I got to stay in the guest houses many years back:
Following the couple of lovely hours with my friend having lunch and conversations as satisfying as the delicious food we had, we hailed another cab to make it back to the ferry docks to head back. But first, we had to do the very typical thing of getting some roasted chestnuts from a street vendor to enjoy the warmth of those round scored fruits in our hands, and their sweet taste on our palates.
The taxi driver with the undefiable skills of a sword-juggling circus performer in avoiding danger, took us through the narrow cobblestone city streets with steep dispositions.
For the return trip, we situated ourselves on the starboard side of the ferry again to face the European shores of the Bosphorus. As we departed the port, the delicately beautiful Dolmabahçe Palace quickly came into view, followed by piles of concrete buildings covering all possible surfaces on hillsides with more historical monuments in the background. Without much need for squinting while watching the video below, you can make out the silhouette of the Galata Tower where the first successful human-flight experiment was performed by Hazerfan Ahmet Çelebi in the 17th century:
Once we made it back to the Asian side, the rest of the way was uneventful but very pleasant to my mind still lingering in the salt-water sprinkled memories of the past few hours.
Apparently, there is a conundrum in the mathematical aspect of mapmaking on whether only four colors are sufficient to identify each country without having two boundary-sharing countries have the same color. For the time being, it seems to be the case!
Qualia are the distinct raw sensations of particular experiences that make up our consciousness. An example I was presented in the book I'm reading by Christof Koch says: "The quale of the color red is what is common to such disparate percepts as seeing a red sunset, the red flag of China, arterial blood, a ruby gemstone, and Homer's wine-dark sea. The common denominator to all these subjective states is 'redness'."
Ann DeOtte is one brilliant woman who started a clothing line for female commuters on bicycles. Her pieces are very simple and chic, yet have very versatile features to make riding easy in a fashionable way. I just backed her line Iva Jean on kickstarter and you should too! Can't wait to receive my Daily Blouse! :)
Dark. Where am I? I feel movement. Is it me moving? There is something very close and very big. What is it? I am floating with my arms and legs slightly spread to the sides. I am sure my eyes are open. I see some tiny glint to the right. One more. And one more. Ahhh, as I slowly move, I get out of the shadow of the big planet I am passing by. I am looking at the universe with its countless sparkling eyes. I float by more planets. Dusty colored sleepy ones. The vastness of space surrounds me with the coziness of a small, familiar room. Such beauty, quiet, peace, and clarity... This one looks different. It is brighter. I like its vibrant colors. And I hear them. I hear them sing long deep sad sighs. I want to go there. To them. It is dark again. This time a thicker blanket of a dark. I still hear them. I don't see them but I know I am with them. I am them. I sing their songs and take in the occasional phosphorescent light show in these virgin depths of the ocean. I am happy and light and invincible. "We are done. Come inside when you are ready. Take your time." she says in a whisper. I do not want it to end. I am not ready to come back yet. But the light from the other room gently floods through my closed eyelids. My first Craniosacral Therapy session is over....
Turkeyface Killa whipped out his pen, and told me to tell one of my favorite stories. It was not hard to see there were several rivers flooding behind his mischievous smile. As I kept talking, without moving his gaze from my face, he first held up a notebook he carries everywhere, to barricade his vision to the piece of paper in front of him, and started sketching. His hand kept moving here and there, and a ghostly image of a face started appearing on the paper. My face! This very talented artist calls this series of his work "Whispers Of Memory", and I am very happy to be part of that collection. He made me promise to not reveal who he is - making me feel even more privileged to be his subject. Who knows, he might be the Banksy of automatic-drawing!
I will undergo a LASIK procedure today, so I am pro-actively blogging about this process I will be learning by experiencing first hand. The term "LASIK" stands for "Laser ASsisted In-situ Keratomileusis". These refractive surgical procedures that reshape the cornea, are designed to improve the eye's ability to clearly focus light directly on the retina. Cheers to waking up to a clear vision tomorrow morning!
I did my very first longest, and steepest hike today to Mt. Wilson with a group of amazing ladies. It was a 14 mile roundtrip hike, in preparation for my quickly approaching Inca Trail trek, where I got to try out my new hiking outfit, and new Camelback daypack. I was very lucky to have the seasoned hikers around me - one of which is training for a hike to the top of Mt. Kilimanjaro - tirelessly telling me how well I was doing, and filling me in on the very useful tricks to keep me going. The three very important things I learned today, that literally helped me to make it to the peak without any injuries were: 1. Pressure-Breath: This very simple yet energizing breathing technique, gets rid of the stale air in your body, making room for a big volume of fresh Oxygen. You breathe out very strongly, and quickly a couple of times, when you start feeling your heartbeat start to go up. 2. Rest-Step: Around mile 6 going upwards, I started getting cramps in my thighs right above my knees. In this technique, you step heel first, and take shorter steps to make more use of the bigger muscles at the back of your legs. 3. Hiking-Buddies: Who you hike with makes all the difference in how good you feel about the hike, regardless of how long, or steep, or arduous the trail is. After all, like J said "A 14 mile hike seems a lot shorter with great company". And I was in the company of the greatest today! Thank you, R, J, and M!
Tomaso Poggio is one of the very prominent neuroscientists of our time and one of the most improtant pioneers in the field of information processing. His greatest invention of the functional formula for extracting stereo depth from two slightly different views of the same scene has led to the amazing advances in 3D visualizations we see today.
Good news! We will be able to navigate in-doors with our smartphones with a new 9-axis sensor technology from Bosch! Completely supported by Bosch Sensortec's sensor fusion software FusionLib, BMX055 will enable new applications in Augmented Reality, HMIs, and many more location based tools. Can't stop loving technology!