Thursday, December 18, 2014

* What is it?

What is it about New York City that makes it both alluring and sobering at the same time? 
Is it the closeness of everything - buildings, cars, people - to each other without conflicting and getting in each other's way? 
Is it the candor of its inhabitants that would step aside to make space for you on the subway car but not hold the door for you? 
Is it the unexpected calmness of the fast moving people? 
Is it the 6 layers deep subway system that teleports you to the most unexpected places within a few beats of your heart? 
Is it the endless Central Park that is a sanctuary to humans and migrating birds alike? 
Is it the five different languages you hear within earshot everywhere? 
Is it the Little Italy landlocked in China?
Is it the dizzying heights, fast moving deeps and the steps in between that plays tricks on your mind?
Is it the delicate gold embroidery on a shawl that catches your eye for just a moment and disappears into the red-speckled sea of puffy black coats?
Is it the children that dress, talk and walk like little adults alongside their hipster parents?
Is it the bagel breakfast that comes with a blue cup of coffee that tells you to "have a good day"?
Is it the Grand Central station where paths merge and emerge in all directions?
Is it the life-sized whale that hangs from the ceiling of Natural History Museum?


Is it the person who lived and breathed New York in a past life that takes you on a journey through the canyons and caves of the city that you did not even know how to dream of? 
The  person who designs each step you take so that every turn of a corner is a magical encounter with something you always wished for - The Gaugenheim Museum, a Klimt painting, roasted chestnuts from street vendors, an evening at Nobu, gazing under the skirts of Statue of Liberty, Flat Iron Building pointing at you. 
The person who knows that you will turn into a five-year-old kid in the world's largest toy store, hugging every single stuffed animal large and small. 
The person who walks you on the footsteps of Louis CK in his tv show intro from the subway to the pizza store and finally to Comedy Cellar where your cheeks ache from laughing so hard.
The person that is sure to make each trip to New York brand new every time. 
The person who wishes for nothing in return but to see the glitter in your eye and the uncontainable smile.

I don't have the vocabulary to thank you enough...
I love you!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Secrets Of Highclere Castle

Although I did watch one - the first - episode of Downton Abbey, the fictional story was not enough to pull me in like other followers of this TV series and seemed like an old time soap opera. However, I did admire the costumes from the series on display at the miniature museum of FIDM/Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising a year ago.

Today, I found a documentary about the Highclere Castle (where Downton Abbey is filmed) and its real life nobility inhabitants. Learned much about the history and the customs of this family home with a deep appreciation of the humility and humbleness of the Lord and Lady of Carnarvon of this beautiful architecture and the well kept grounds it sits on sans any drama. I recommend Secrets of Highclere Castle to all Downton Abbey fans or history buffs or the admirers of British countryside alike.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Majorana Fermion

In a paper published on October 2, 2014 in the Science journal, Majorana Fermion was introduced as a particle that is also its own antiparticle, dark matter candidate and possible quantum computer enabler. 

Although this surprisingly very stable particle does not require a particle accelerator to make an appearance, it does require a very specific setup with temperatures lowered to 1°C above absolute zero to maintain superconductivity, and very powerful scanning-tunneling microscopes.

Due to its stability and weakly interacting nature, majorana fermions have a future in being utilized in quantum calculations that were previously incalculable.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Fruits de Mer

"The most beautiful clothes that can dress a woman are the arms of the man she loves. But for those who haven't had the fortune of finding this happiness, I am there." -- Yves Saint-Laurent


It was not the theme of Hala Matar's short movie Fruits de Mer that grabbed my attention, but where it was filmed - L.A.'s exquisite Bar Chateau Marmont. Oh and of course the Yves Saint-Laurent quote in the opening scene...

PS. Dear Bar Chateau Marmont, your Dessert Menu link is broken.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014


From the Inuit mythology:

"Mahaha is a maniacal demon that terrorized parts of the arctic. This creature is described as a thin sinewy being, ice blue in colour and cold to the touch. Mahaha’s eyes are white and they peer through the long stringy hair that hangs in its face. This demon is always smiling and giggling. It is strong, very strong and it is always barefoot. Mahaha is usually seen with almost no clothing on yet it never seems to be bothered by the cold. This cold demon takes pleasure in tickling its victims to death with sharp vicious nails attached to its long bony fingers. Many elders have remarked on the expression of the dead victims Mahaha leaves behind. It seems all of the victim have a similar expression on their dead faces – a twisted frozen smile.

Although this demon is twisted and evil, Mahaha is easily fooled. Most of the stories told about Mahaha end with it being fooled. Usually Mahaha is tricked into leaning over a water hole to take a drink and is pushed into the open water and swept away by the currents.

So if Mahaha ever corners you alone, ask it to have one last drink with you by the water hole before it tickles you to death."

Monday, August 4, 2014


Anastatica is a resurrection plant that is found in arid areas in the Middle East and Sahara Desert. Also known as Rose of Jericho, this small grey plant dries up after rainy season and curls its branches into a tight ball to hibernate. Come rainy season the ball uncurls revealing the capsular fruits it has been protecting to release the dormant seeds unto the earth.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Living Rocks

Pyura chilensis are non-moving, sac-like marine invertebrate filter feeders that are also known as sea squirts. These sea creatures live on the rocky coast of Chile and Peru and they are fished commercially for the locals eat them raw or cooked with salad and rice because apparently they’re very delicious.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Stir From Your Roots

The Poplar


Edward Godfree Aldington

Why do you always stand there shivering
Between the white stream and the road?
The people pass through the dust
On bicycles, in carts, in motor-cars;
The waggoners go by at down;
The lovers walk on the grass path at night.

Stir from your roots, walk, poplar!
You are more beautiful than they are.

I know that the white wind loves you,
Is always kissing you and turning up
The white lining of your green petticoat.
The sky darts through you like blue rain,
And the grey rain drips on your flanks
And loves you.

And I have seen the moon
Slip his silver penny into your pocket
As you straightened your hair;
And the white mist curling and hesitating
Like a bashful lover about your knees.

I know you, poplar;
I have watched you since I was ten.
But if you had a little real love,
A little strength,
You would leave your nonchalant idle lovers
And go walking down the white road
Behind the waggoners.

There are beautiful beeches down beyond the hill.
Will you always stand there shivering?

Monday, July 28, 2014


TouchPico from TouchJet introduces a new and useful twist to the handheld projectors by turning any flat surface to an interactive screen. The crowdfunding campaign for this brilliant little gadget has launched on Indiegogo yesterday and has already raised over 70% of their goal.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

The Secret Of The Sea

The Secret of the Sea
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Ah! what pleasant visions haunt me
As I gaze upon the sea!
All the old romantic legends,
All my dreams, come back to me.

Sails of silk and ropes of sandal,
Such as gleam in ancient lore;
And the singing of the sailors,
And the answer from the shore!

Most of all, the Spanish ballad
Haunts me oft, and tarries long,
Of the noble Count Arnaldos
And the sailor's mystic song.

Like the long waves on a sea-beach,
Where the sand as silver shines,
With a soft, monotonous cadence,
Flow its unrhymed lyric lines:—

Telling how the Count Arnaldos,
With his hawk upon his hand,
Saw a fair and stately galley,
Steering onward to the land;—

How he heard the ancient helmsman
Chant a song so wild and clear,
That the sailing sea-bird slowly
Poised upon the mast to hear,

Till his soul was full of longing,
And he cried, with impulse strong,—
“Helmsman! for the love of heaven,
Teach me, too, that wondrous song!”

“Wouldst thou,”—so the helmsman answered,
“Learn the secret of the sea?
Only those who brave its dangers
Comprehend its mystery!”

In each sail that skims the horizon,
In each landward-blowing breeze,
I behold that stately galley,
Hear those mournful melodies;

Till my soul is full of longing
For the secret of the sea,
And the heart of the great ocean
Sends a thrilling pulse through me.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Hear Colors Taste Words

Synesthesia is a condition that can cause senses to overlap in a way that some people can taste words or hear colors. Wassily Kandinsky was one of the earliest documented people to experience this phenomenon. 

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Forever Young

Age truly is a number and when it comes to having fun sometimes seniors outdo most youngens. Members of Senior Living Communities have created a calendar that is sure to put a huge smile on your face or better yet have you burst out laughing. Be sure to visit their website and order a copy of their Iconic Pop Culture Calendar.

Monday, July 21, 2014

A Year In A Day

Not only Venus has a clockwise rotation contrary to all other planets in our Solar System but a Venusian sidereal day thus lasts longer than a Venusian year (243 versus 224.7 Earth days). 

Please don't tell me I'm the last one on earth to find that out...

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Perhaps They Are Not Stars

 "Perhaps they are not stars,
but rather openings in heaven
where the love of our lost ones
pours through and shines down upon us
to let us know they're happy."

- Eskimo Proverb

For Sophia

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Torggler Door

Austrian designer Klemens Torggler's Evolution Doors are elegantly dancing works of art with their origami looks and smooth moves folding over doorways. The no-hinge no-knob design makes it easy to open and close doors with one finger. This door is the ultimate cure to slamming doors!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Vantablack Is The New Black

Vantablack is a new material developed by the British company Surrey NanoSystems using carbon nanotubes grown in aluminum foil. Since this material absorbs 99.96 % of visible light, it has applications in calibrating astronomical cameras and telescopes as well as infrared scanning systems to greatly improve readings.

Monday, July 14, 2014

The Coandă Effect

Coandă effect is the tendency of a fluid jet to be attracted to a nearby surface, named after Romanian aerodynamics pioneer Henri Coandă, who was the first person to use this principle in the Coandă-1910 aircraft he designed. Today this principle finds wider application in VTOL UAV type aircrafts.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Fractal Sauce

The chefs at Arzak restaurant in San Sebastián, Spain have created the nerdiest dessert. Fractal sauce is a mixture of a honey base and a reactor that create an edible fractal on your plate. The guy that will make this for me will certainly win my heart and my brain!

Sunday, June 8, 2014


I'm so thrilled to have just found out that Midge Ure - the mastermind behind Ultravox, will be releasing his new solo album Fragile in July. I have no doubts that this album will be another emotional explosion that has become my expectation from this inimitable Scotsman! 

Thursday, May 29, 2014

I Have Spread My Dreams Under Your Feet

Aedh Wishes For The Cloths Of Heaven


W.B. Yeats

HAD I the heavens’ embroidered cloths,  
Enwrought with golden and silver light,  
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths  
Of night and light and the half light,  
I would spread the cloths under your feet:
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;  
I have spread my dreams under your feet;  
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.  

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Cow Belch

Have you ever wondered what happens to the hundreds of gallons of methane gas produced each day by cows and other grazing animals? You'd think there would be herds of farm-youth with lighters standing-by to activate enormous pyrotechnics at the cows' expense, right?

Thanks to yet another hilariously educational book by Mary Roach, I've learned the cows don't belch (or fart for that matter). They actually reroute their internal tubing to move the very flammable gas from their rumens to their lungs where it is mixed in with air to be diluted to nonflammable levels, and then they "quietly" breathe it out. That is especially important since the sound that amount of gas released in any other "pressurized" way would've been an open invitation to their predators giving away their exact location.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Microbot Swarms

Inspired by colonies of worker ants, SRI International built magnetically actuated micro-robots to work in parallel in micro-factories to build electronic circuit board. The robots are built from low cost materials and their ability to work together reduces time and cost of the products they build.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Electric Astronauts

Johnny Jones does it again! Electric Astronauts is another manifestation of the beautiful inner world of this huscular and impassioned man. Thank you Johnny for generously sharing your art for no charge to listen. You are the epitome of awesomenessness!

Saturday, April 26, 2014


My learning today came from a fellow yogi at the Bikram studio I practice regularly.

Siddhis are spiritual, magical, supranormal, paranormal, or supernatural powers acquired through sadhana (spiritual practices), such as meditation and yoga. The word itself is a Sanskrit noun which can be translated as "perfection", "accomplishment", "attainment", or "success".

There are eight primary siddhis:
  • Aṇimā: reducing one's body even to the size of an atom
  • Mahima: expanding one's body to an infinitely large size
  • Garima: becoming infinitely heavy
  • Laghima: becoming almost weightless
  • Prāpti: having unrestricted access to all places
  • Prākāmya: realizing whatever one desires
  • Iṣṭva: possessing absolute lordship
  • Vaśtva: the power to subjugate all

And five siddhis of yoga and meditation are:
  • tri-kāla-jñatvam: knowing the past, present and future
  • advandvam: tolerance of heat, cold and other dualities
  • para citta ādi abhijñatā: knowing the minds of others and so on
  • agni arka ambu viṣa ādīnām pratiṣṭambhaḥ: checking the influence of fire, sun, water, poison, and so on
  • aparājayah: remaining unconquered by others

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Ask Me No More

Ask Me No More
Alfred Lord Tennyson

Ask me no more: the moon may draw the sea; 
The cloud may stoop from heaven and take the shape, 
With fold to fold, of mountain or of cape; 
But O too fond, when have I answer'd thee? 
Ask me no more. 

Ask me no more: what answer should I give? 
I love not hollow cheek or faded eye: 
Yet, O my friend, I will not have thee die! 
Ask me no more, lest I should bid thee live; 
Ask me no more. 

Ask me no more: thy fate and mine are seal'd: 
I strove against the stream and all in vain: 
Let the great river take me to the main: 
No more, dear love, for at a touch I yield; 
Ask me no more. 

Sunday, April 6, 2014

A Cantankerous Spinster

I have seen her in many movies and British series but never paid enough attention to find out who she is... that is until I watched two entire seasons of Mulberry in one evening just to have my ears enjoy her elocutionary skills while eloquently wearing the character of  Miss Farnaby. I am now a loyal fan of Geraldine McEwan.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Child Of The Universe

Max Ehrmann

Go placidly amid the noise and the haste, 
and remember what peace there may be in silence. 

As far as possible, without surrender, 
be on good terms with all persons. 
Speak your truth quietly and clearly; 
and listen to others, 
even to the dull and the ignorant; 
they too have their story. 
Avoid loud and aggressive persons; 
they are vexatious to the spirit. 

If you compare yourself with others, 
you may become vain or bitter, 
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself. 
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. 
Keep interested in your own career, however humble; 
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time. 

Exercise caution in your business affairs, 
for the world is full of trickery. 
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; 
many persons strive for high ideals, 
and everywhere life is full of heroism. 
Be yourself. Especially do not feign affection. 
Neither be cynical about love, 
for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment, 
it is as perennial as the grass. 

Take kindly the counsel of the years, 
gracefully surrendering the things of youth. 
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. 
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. 
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness. 

Beyond a wholesome discipline, 
be gentle with yourself. 
You are a child of the universe 
no less than the trees and the stars; 
you have a right to be here. 
And whether or not it is clear to you, 
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. 

Therefore be at peace with God, 
whatever you conceive Him to be. 
And whatever your labors and aspirations, 
in the noisy confusion of life, 
keep peace in your soul. 

With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams, 
it is still a beautiful world. 
Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Sierpiński Gasket

The Sierpiński Gasket, is a fractal with the overall shape of an equilateral triangle, subdivided recursively into smaller equilateral triangles. What's more interesting is, it has a Hausdorff dimension of log 3/log 2 = 1.583... (as fractals exist in between whole dimensions) and has zero area!

Saturday, March 22, 2014

The Busy Heart

The Busy Heart
Rupert Brooke

Now that we've done our best and worst, and parted,
I would fill my mind with thoughts that will not rend.
(O heart, I do not dare go empty-hearted)
I'll think of Love in books, Love without end;
Women with child, content; and old men sleeping;
And wet strong ploughlands, scarred for certain grain;
And babes that weep, and so forget their weeping;
And the young heavens, forgetful after rain;
And evening hush, broken by homing wings;
And Song's nobility, and Wisdom holy,
That live, we dead. I would think of a thousand things,
Lovely and durable, and taste them slowly,
One after one, like tasting a sweet food.
I have need to busy my heart with quietude. 

Monday, March 10, 2014

Take Me Into Your Skin

I met Trentemøller on Pandora radio by way of Mike Oldfield. The dark electronic music of this Danish composer pulled me into another mystical world I have not been to in a very long time. Very exhiliratingly refreshing indeed!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Unfiltered Human Thoughts

I just watched and was blown away by Mary Lou Jepsen's Ted Talk about the experimental work they've been working on to bring out mental imagery to a computer screen. It is very promising to see how close to perfection they are. Her proposal about using stronger magnets rather than larger magnets and utilizing complex magnetic field patterns to construct clearer images from our minds is absolutely brilliant! It is worth considering her questions and the implications of the potential answers:

"Could you imagine if we could leapfrog language and communicate  directly with human thought?" "How would we deal with unfiltered human thoughts?"

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Science Non-fiction

A team of scientists from Australia, South Korea, Canada, Turkey and China  led by the University of Texas at Dallas found a way to convert fishing lines and threads into powerful artificial muscles that are capable of lifting a hundred times more weight and generate a hundred times higher mechanical power than the same length and weight of human muscle. Among the wide potential applications of these artificial muscles would be robots with superhuman powers to tackle tasks where humans fall short.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Fashionable Mayhem

Sometimes mothers go to great lengths to entertain their younglings and sometimes the entertainment turns into a perpetual game that makes the future personas of those little ones bloom. Fashion by Mayhem started by a mother and her 4-year-old daughter making clothing out of paper and nine months later, little Mayhem is still very skillfully making and modeling her creations like a pro!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

One Red Paperclip

Kyle MacDonald wanted his own home but did not have the funds to purchase it so he traded his way up to a farmhouse starting with the One Red Paperclip pictured above! Here's how he did it:

  1. On July 14, 2005, he went to Vancouver and traded the paperclip for a fish-shaped pen.
  2. He then traded the pen the same day for a hand-sculpted doorknob from Seattle, Washington, which he nicknamed "Knob-T".
  3. On July 25, 2005, he travelled to Amherst, Massachusetts, with a friend to trade Knob-T for a Coleman camp stove (with fuel).
  4. On September 24, 2005, he went to California, and traded the camp stove for a Honda generator.
  5. On November 16, 2005, he made a second (and successful) attempt (after having the generator confiscated by the New York City Fire Department) in Maspeth, Queens, to trade the generator for an "instant party": an empty keg, an IOU for filling the keg with the beer of the holder's choice, and a neon Budweiser sign.
  6. On December 8, 2005, he traded the "instant party" to Quebec comedian and radio personality Michel Barrette for one Ski-doo snowmobile.
  7. Within a week of that, he traded the snowmobile for a two-person trip to Yahk, British Columbia, in February 2006.
  8. On or about January 7, 2006, he traded the second spot on the Yahk trip for a cube van.
  9. On or about February 22, 2006, he traded the cube van for a recording contract with Metalworks in Mississauga, Ontario.
  10. On or about April 11, 2006, he traded the recording contract to Jody Gnant for a year's rent in Phoenix, Arizona.
  11. On or about April 26, 2006, he traded the one year's rent in Phoenix, Arizona, for one afternoon with Alice Cooper.
  12. On or about May 26, 2006, he traded the one afternoon with Alice Cooper for a KISS motorized snow globe.
  13. On or about June 2, 2006, he traded the KISS motorized snow globe to Corbin Bernsen for a role in the film Donna on Demand.[3]
  14. On or about July 5, 2006, he traded the movie role for a two-story farmhouse in Kipling, Saskatchewan.
Oh and this smart man also wrote a book about his One Red Paperclip adventure and is still making money!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

* Q

Tonight, the letter Q has lost its meaning for me ... and assumed whole new meaning that is a destination where all your senses are stimulated in quiet elegance, thanks to my lovely friend Jen. Q is a holistic sushi restaurant in the heart of Los Angeles that offers one of the best omakase dining experiences. You are at the mercy of chef Hiroyuki Naruke as he decides what 20 dishes will be served to kill you softly of delight paired with your choice of mini carafes of sake. It is almost impossible to pick a dish over another as a favorite but you are guaranteed to use adjectives like 'adorable' for the food especially if the baby squids are on the menu for your night of dining. The waiters educate you about what you are about to taste and recommend eating your food from left to right - and this actually makes sense even if you are slightly inebriated!

Q does not have dessert but Bottega Louie is conveniently across the street where you can get yourself a rainbow of macaroons.

Thank you, Jen! This was an extraordinary night that must be periodically repeated...

Monday, February 24, 2014

The Glass Ceiling

The National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne, Australia has one of the most beautiful stained-glass ceilings by Leonard French. It is one of the world's largest pieces of suspended stained glass, casting colorful lights on the floor below as well as the visitors.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Chinese Mouth Organ

The Sheng - also known as the Chinese mouth organ, is one of the most ancient wind instruments dating as far back as 3000 years ago. It has between 17 and 37 vertical bamboo reeds in varying lengths set in a cylindrical base with a mouth piece attached at the bottom side. What makes this instrument very special is that it is the only Chinese wind instrument that is capable of playing melody and chordal accompaniment or various notes simultaneously.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Eyelid Movies

They did not spark my immediate interest when they came up on my Pandora radio the first couple of times. The third time created a strange anticipation. Fourth time I hit the 'thumbs-up'. Now I am looking into buying their one and only album Eyelid Movies. Yes, Phantogram is another fantastic New York band and I am missing their concert tonight in L.A.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Red Pepper Spray

Giuseppe Colarusso plays with your mind when he sends familiar everyday objects into unimaginable territory. Love his work.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Surreal Selfies

This 20-year-old girl knows how to take breathtaking selfies. Here's one of my favorites by Rachel Baran:

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Apple Juice Dreams

Acetylcholine (ACh) is an ester of choline and acetic acid that is the transmitter substance at many neural, or nerve, synapses and at the motor end plate of vertebrate muscles. It affects a number of body systems including the cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, respiratory systems, and the urinary tract. It also stimulates secretion by all glands that receive parasympathetic nerve impulses which may increase the probability of having very vivid and sometimes lucid dreams. Apparently, ingesting excessive amounts of apple juice before bedtime increases the release of this neurotranmitter. I am tempted to test this out.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

The Granny Alphabet

The Granny Alphabet is a book by the London based fashion photographer Tim Walker in which every page is filled with the invincible spirit of sweet old ladies. And kudos to Mr. Walker, he is donating all proceeds from the sale of this book to Friends of the Elderly.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Once Upon A Salt Mine

Salina Turda in Transylvania, Romania, had been a source for table salt since antiquity until 1930s. In 1992, it has been converted into a halotherapy center and a history museum making it a major tourist attraction.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Chemical Knots

Although I've been familiar with the Knot Theory for some time now, I found it very interesting when I read about how chemists are now using knot theory and topology in creating new and unusual molecules by changing the way atoms are connected. The Euclidean Geometry inspiring chemists to synthesize new molecules is not only helping them to think in more flexible terms but to open new doors for new ways to create more efficient medications as well as biotechnology solutions.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

The Saddest Cookbook

I don't know how I stumbled on this cookbook from 1987 but reading the reviews peaked my interest for the fans of 'Microwave for One' seem to have a strange love affair with it. Some of the reviews are as sad & lonely as the image on the cover of the book. Still I'm intrigued and am debating to drop the $60+ and get a copy of this rare gem.