Kenny McElroy is a computer security geek with interests in circus arts, mechanical engineering, dancing, electronics engineering and pie. The pursuit of figuring out how stuff works, especially security related stuff, tickles his fancy. After a year of hosting multiple monthly meetings with guided tutorials on various aspects of opening locks without their corresponding keys or codes, Kenny is ready to show you some fun tricks, challenge your dexterity and answer your questions.
The workshop starts with a basic introduction to pin-tumbler locks. Practice locks and picks will be provided so you can try out everything we talk about yourself. With the progressively pinned locks, it is easy to start out at level 1 and work your way up to a lock very much like the one you probably have on your door at home. Just how much security does that thing provide anyway? Find out for yourself, first hand.
While people are having fun testing their new skills on the provided practice locks, questions about slightly more advanced topics are welcome. Want to see a demo of a bump-key? Or how to decode a combination lock? Can you escape a pair of handcuffs? We will have lots of the most common locks and some of the easiest, non-destructive methods for opening them. Are the practice locks falling open too easily for you? Beat our challenge locks and you will win fun prizes!
Can you feel it? We are officially in the thick of awards season and with all those deadlines looming, it's important to keep your dates in order.
The next major program deadline coming up is for the International Design Excellence Awards. Their late deadline for entry is February 25th. While you'll pay a bit more for the privilege of the late entry, all the recognition, glory and bragging rights are still up for grabs to everyone who enters.
If you're curious about what won the judges over in years past, the IDSA website has 12 year's of winners online. You can also check out our favorite winners from 2012 and 2011. Then, imagine what it would feel like to see your work featured there, and go enter!
2013 IDEA Deadline: February 25, 2013 - Enter here
Tonight's talk starts at 6 at the Hand-Eye Supply store in Portland, OR. Come early and check out our space or check in with us online for the live broadcast!
Bridgetown Forge "The Hand-Forged Chef's Knife: The Japanese Perspective" Hand-Eye Supply
23 NW 4th Ave
Portland, OR, 97209
Tuesday, February 5th, 6PM PST
Bridgetown Forge was founded by Arnon Kartmazov after many years of practicing his craft. He served his first apprenticeship with the last working blacksmith in Jerusalem, Israel, in 1985. He then spent 12 years in Japan, where he was apprenticed to a knife-maker, then a sword-maker, and then opened and operated his own shop in the hills of Northern Kyoto, where he specialized in both hand-forged chef's knifes, as well as architectural pieces designed to blend with both traditional and modern Japanese architecture. He also trained with many smiths both in Japan and in other countries, including Uri Hofi of Israel, an internationally renowned master smith.
Arnon Kartmazov's presentation will give a historical background in blacksmithing covering both traditional methods and contemporary applications and processes. Using modeling clay, Arnon will demonstrate the ancient yet still relevant techniques used to create a variety of forms in modern blacksmithing. Arnon will give a general outline of what it means to forge a quality knife, and explain the Japanese approach to creating high-performance, hand-made cutlery. The talk will conclude with a question and answer session, as well as an opportunity for hands-on time with some samples of Arnon's hand-forged pieces.
Over the past weekend, Core77 ventured up to Boston to check out the inaugural edition of the HarvardxDesign conference, a collaboration between the students of the Harvard Business School and the Harvard Graduate School of Design. The conference explored ways to use the principles of design to transform business and education and included both a speaker series and a design challenge. We hit the ground running on Friday night with a series of rapid-fire presentations from the likes of Hunter Tura, CEO of Bruce Mau Design; Paul Pugh, VP of Creative for Software Innovation at frog; and Marco Steinberg, Director of Strategic Design at the Finnish Innovation Fund.
Hunter Tura preached how imperative it is for designers and businesspeople to collaborate as early in the product development process as possible in order to create the most holistically successful results. "The Design School students need to introduce themselves to the Business School students," said Tura, "because these people will one day control the fate of your brand." Tura continued with describing how innovation, certainly the buzz word of the conference, has become like irony. "It's very difficult to define, but you know it when you see it," said Tura, while showing examples of products that have changed stagnant markets. Most importantly, though, innovation is not some stand-alone goal to achieve—"innovation is not something that exists in a vacuum"—but rather something that is dependent on the design process.
Paul Pugh talked about bucking the stereotypes in design in order to find happiness. He put up the typical design thinking process, with steps like Discover, Concept, Refine, and Deliver. "These are really marketing diagrams about how design works," said Pugh. "At frog, we try not to stick to that." The very rigid process of design thinking can be limiting, so teams at frog are allowed to come up with their own processes and ways of working, all in the pursuit of turning a sort of happy chaos into the best end results. Pugh described how software design projects are often regarded as trivial, especially in comparison to social innovation projects. "But look at software design as a humanitarian project," said Pugh, flipping the modality on its head. "People sit in front of screens all day—we can make them happier and make their lives better. Always think about how products can change a person's life."
Lastly, Marco Steinberg stole the show with a passionate and down-to-earth talk about using design to face the world's biggest problems. "Our challenges are on such a grand scale. Combine that with diminishing resources and now it's about redesign, not just making the systems more efficient," said Steinberg. He described the aging populace in Finland where the tax base is shrinking, yet the need for services is quickly increasing. This seemingly necessitates the need for service designers, yet solely using service designers as the solution "will only make the services more pleasant—we'll just die more pleasantly," but not solve the root of the problem. Government needs to engage all stakeholders into to administer its services better.
During the panel, Steinberg continued to inspire the audience with his stories of struggling to change the culture of government through embedded designers. "The public sector has no history [of design]," said Steinberg. "If we can figure out how to get in, then we're not burdened by any legacy." However, unlike the oft-repeated design thinking maxim of failing early and often, designers in government cannot be allowed to fail since there won't be another opportunity to try again. Steinberg also offered two "sinister" strategies that he uses to effect change more rapidly: the Trojan horse—"we give you what you want, but load it with what you need"—and creep—"do small things, work at the margins, then take bigger and bigger bites." Although we had never heard of Marco Steinberg before today, he is definitely worth keeping an eye on.
Saturday started off with a somewhat status-quo yet highly enjoyable lecture on using design to shape business strategy from IDEO's Colin Raney, who proffered Richard Buchanan's Orders of Design as a basis for understanding business design. The Orders of Design start with graphic design, then evolve to products, to interaction design, and finally to system design, which includes businesses, government, education and other organizations. "Business is the platform for design," said Rainey. He then described the steps for integrating the design thinking process into business strategy, which include visualizing the system, looking for areas of potential leverage, and then implementing a series of systemic changes to redefine the system.
Since its inception in 2008, the Mayo Clinic Center for Innovation has become the poster child for internal innovation practices. The Center for Innovation focuses on engaging all of the stakeholders in the healthcare system, from doctors to patients to staff, and introducing the design process as a means of taking healthcare to the next level. We had the chance to sit down with the Center for Innovation's Gerry Greaney and Molly McMahon to talk about how design is reshaping healthcare.
Core77: What is the Center for Innovation?
Gerry Greaney: We're a very interesting and diverse group with backgrounds in design, healthcare, finance, budget management, IT, and we're taking the design thinking and design research approach to try to transform the delivery experience of healthcare.
Have you seen the Center transform, along with the culture and behaviors at the Clinic?
Molly McMahon: Definitely. When we first started, we moved out of this kind of raw space in the back area that wasn't finished and that was also right inside the patient clinic hallway. Our team was split—we didn't have a dedicated space for ourselves. Then last March, we moved into to this new, open space with everyone on the same floor. Space is a [scarce] commodity and really valued at Mayo. If you're given more space, then you're worth something. It shows that the Clinic has made an investment in us as well as through the work that we've been doing.
GG: I think what's happened over the past couple of years is that more and more groups throughout Mayo have engaged with the Center and as they've done that, they've started to really understand what the value is. When you bring something like a design approach into a medical institution, it's very different than the scientific, analytical lab approach that's prominent there. It's hard to understand initially what the value of this is—until you experience it. And then once you go through that, you can see the benefit. And when that happens, more people talk about it. It's about getting a foothold.
What kinds of attitudes have you seen? When you say, "I do design and innovation," do people balk at that?
MM: I would say it's more of a slight confusion or an 'Explain more,' because as soon as you say the word 'design,' from their perspective, they're looking at it as, "Are you designing the curtains in the room or the bed? What are you trying to design around or change?" From that, I think it's more of a confusion around the term 'service design' and how it fits into how what they're doing and what we're going to provide to their services.
GG: I think there are times when people may wonder why we're needed and we have to show why we are. Maybe we go a little further to do that and to really capture the stories people tell and things we're told by patients and then translate it into something that applies to the work that needs to be done.
So why is the Center for Innovation needed?
GG: I think it's because there's only so much you can do to address the change that needs to happen in healthcare with the approaches that have been tried already. So there are certain things that you can identify through equality efforts, things that have made huge progress in improving efficiency. But there are certain things that you don't see when you look at things that way. By looking very carefully through a patient experience and trying to understand the greater context of health for patients, you start to see some opportunities that you might not see if we were only focused on purely the medical side of things, purely the care aspect.
Bruce Nussbaum is a luminary in the business and design fields, as well as a professor at Parsons the New School for Design and an occasional contributor here at Core77. A year-and-a-half ago, Bruce famously declared that design thinking was dead. We had the chance to sit down with Bruce and see how his thoughts on design have evolved since then.
Core77: How has your thinking about design thinking changed in the last year-and-a-half? Now you're hearing business professors talk about design thinking as the new thing and a year and half ago you said it was dead!
Bruce Nussbaum: Well, that's what happens when you're there at the beginning of a concept and you live through it, you see it mature, and you believe that it is now a wonderful foundation for something else. Then you come to a place like Harvard where they're sort of discovering design and embracing design thinking. My reaction to that is that it's wonderful because for this situation, for this time, for them it's great that they're understanding the power of design and what design can do, not just in terms of objects, but in terms of relationships, experiences and education. For here, it's great. For those of us who've been inside, we're trying to push the envelope and move forward and Harvard will embrace that too as time goes on.
Does this mean that design thinking is enduring? Or that there's kind of a lag time between these concepts emerging and their adoption down the road?
Yes, well, government is just beginning to adopt design, much less design thinking. But there are institutional lags, cultural lags, there are all kinds of forces at work. There's the force of fad. I remember when design was hot and then not and then innovation was hot and it's kind of peaking now. You can see more and more creativity is moving up that S curve. And creativity is getting hotter and hotter. My book is coming out on "creative intelligence," which will have its moment. To me, they all become scaffolding for other ideas. You're moving down and evolving one's thinking about all of this, whether you call it design, innovation, or creativity. We're all in that same space and trying to do a better job of understanding the phenomenon and the process and most importantly the practice.
When I moved from Business Week to the New School at Parsons, that really changed things for me in terms of my frame and I wanted to be more inclusive. Design is very powerful, it's very particular, and it involves a small number of people. Everyone feels that they're creative and everyone probably can be creative. I just found over the years that when you talk about design, people lean back a little bit and will be a little wary and they'll hear you out. But talk about creativity and they'll start telling you about their kids and they'll talk about how when they were in school they did that. Or they'll talk about their job and you'll tell them, oh, that was very creative. They'll say, Really? And the fact is what they were doing is really creative. So it just brings everybody into the conversation, that's why I went there.
They're still talking about design, design thinking, focusing on user needs or the experience. That's just the tiniest, tiniest bit of what we know in anthropology and sociology about what I consider the most important thing, which is engagement. That's what it's about. How we engage with products, how we engage with services, how we engage in a social way and it's the design of that engagement which is so powerful. And that's what Apple used to do so well. It was that engagement that we had, the meaning we found in that engagement, which they seem to be losing.
Why do you say that Apple is losing that engagement? What was that shift?
Well, the map thing was a disaster. The latest iteration of iTunes is pretty problematic. Perhaps the most important thing is the promise of things to come. In the book, I talk about aura. I want to bring back aura. And the reason I want to bring back the concept of aura is that it is quintessentially about engagement. Aura is this thing that beckons you, that pulls you in, that you have an engagement with, and that very often is an emotional engagement. I would argue that there is such a thing as simulated aura, that you can in fact create aura, that you can create an engagement with people. I have a friend who just bought an Apple Mini. She loves it! And she looks at the Mini the way prisoners will eat their food, she circles it. If I were to get between her and her Mini, she'd kill me! That's aura, that's passion, that's emotion. That's the power of engagement.
Core77's Hand-Eye Supply Curiosity Club kicks off our first meeting in 2013 with very special guest Matt Reed of Bee Thinking, whose expertise in beekeeping, hive construction and honey bee behavior is celebrated by both Portland's beekeepers and the international beekeeping community.
Tonight's talk starts at 6 at the Hand-Eye Supply store in Portland, OR. Come early and check out our space or check in with us online for the live broadcast!
A backyard hive can be a simple, fun and manageable addition to your yard, garden, or roof! Both the Top Bar and Warré are foundationless hives that allow bees to build their own combs as they would in nature. Matt will talk about the advantages of choosing foundationless, and treatment free beekeeping by including information on honeybee biology, management techniques and seasonal recommendations. Honeybees are an opportunistic species that Matt loves to demystify through his stories, facts and research. His presentation style is informative and relaxed, where the audience will undoubtedly glean applicable knowledge for new or existing hives. After listening, you may fall in love with honeybees as Matt did years ago, or at the very least, earn a new appreciation for the species and its work.
Matt's philosophy is simple. The chief end of beekeeping should be to provide the bees with the ideal environment in which to thrive. To do this, the beekeeper must engross his or her mind with a wide range of bee-related information detailing the bee life cycle, history, hive design, management and innumerable other topics of importance. Without this knowledge, it is unlikely that the bees or the keeper will have success in their endeavors.
Matt Reed is the owner of Bee Thinking, a sustainable beekeeping supply store for backyard beekeepers located in SE Portland. Bee Thinking was founded in 2008 as an internet resource for beekeepers throughout the world. At the same time he began mass-producing foundationless Top Bar and Warre hives for his own apiary. Soon he had a great deal of interest from many people who were getting involved in foundationless beekeeping, so he began selling the same hives that he uses to those in the beekeeping community. Today, he sells these hives to people all over the world.
Monday, December 17th
6–8PM - Talk begins promptly at 6:30PM
Core77 Pop-Up Shop @ Blu Dot
140 Wooster Street
New York, NY 10012
rsvp [at] core77 [dot] com
About Critter & Guitari
Critter & Guitari create beautiful products for music lovers and tinkerers alike.
Their KALEIDOLOOP, available through our Ultimate Guide Guide, is a social, portable sound collector. It's designed to be taken anywhere and everywhere to gather and manipulate all kinds of sounds. Record sounds from your kitchen, the recording studio, and campﬁre jam.
About Fort Standard
Fort Standard is a contemporary design studio founded in 2011 by industrial designers Gregory Buntain and Ian Collings. Their collaborative work is a manifestation of their shared vision and progressive design approach which pairs timeless materials with modern process. Often using traditional methods of production in innovative ways, the designers have developed a unique form langugae rooted in simplicity and functionality. Their attention to detail, connections and materiality generate value through design in what Buntain and Collings describe as a "warm-contemporary" aesthetic.
Fort Standard's Balancing Blocks for Core77's Ultimate Gift Guide are oak blocks tumbled in a water-based paint. Arrange these faceted "stone" shapes to create your own sculpture or choreograph a balancing act. Good for all ages.
Fresh off the recent success of their "Drift Pavilion" for Design Miami, Snarkitecture is a collaborative practice operating in territories between the disciplines of art and architecture. Working within existing spaces or in collaboration with other artists and designers, the practice focuses on the investigation of structure, material and program and how these elements can be manipulated to serve new and imaginative purposes. Searching for sites within architecture with the possibility for confusion or misuse, Snarkitecture aims to make architecture perform the unexpected.
Snarkitecture's Cast Light for Core77's Ultimate Gift Guide is hand-formed and individually cast using white gypsum cement creating a tabletop geography of light and shadow.
In addition to sharing an etymological root with the word "salvation," the notion of "salvage" also connotes wreckage; specifically, an effort to recover that which might be lost in the face of disaster. Brooklyn's Uhuru, for one, has long sought to revive serviceable materials in furniture form, and we weren't surprised to see them among the designers who participated in Sawkill Lumber's 12×12 exhibition during New York Design Week this year.
Photo of Fire Island by Daniel Moyer
Uhuru is just one of the two dozen designers revisiting that theme for an forthcoming fundraiser in response to the devastation of Hurricane Sandy. Organized by writer Jennifer Gorsche, DesignerPages Editor-in-Chief Jean Lin and designer Brad Ascalon, Reclaim NYC is true to the spirit of salvage in every sense of the word.
New York City's design community is teaming up to raise money for those affected by Superstorm Sandy with an auction of furniture created from materials reclaimed or salvaged after the storm and of pieces inspired by the flooding...
Furniture collectors will have a unique opportunity to take home a piece of the storm while benefitting those most affected by it. More than 20 designers have pledged pieces to the silent auction, the proceeds of which will go to the American Red Cross in Greater New York. Each designer is bringing a unique take on Sandy and its aftermath with pieces ranging from tables and chairs to lighting fixtures to art objects. Some designers have plans to explore themes of the storm in future work as well.
We had a chance to catch up with Gorsche and Ascalon, who gladly provided a sneak preview of some of the work that will be at the auction (full list of participants below):
Core77: Let's start from the beginning—how did Reclaim NYC come about?
Jennifer Gorsche: I was running in the park and saw how many trees had been damaged. The wood was being hauled away and I wondered if it would be possible for some designers to use it. I called Jean Lin, my good friend and Designer Pages editor and chief, to talk about the idea. We talked with Brad Ascalon about it too, and started reaching out to NY-based designers. The response was really positive and though the timing of the event ultimately didn't allow for large pieces of downed trees to be used (because of curing time involved) the designers have been very creative in addressing the theme of reclamation.
Brad Ascalon: As Jen mentioned, she and Jean reached out to me to see if I'd be interested in participating. Because I was so into the idea, the discussion ended with me wanting to be involved in the organization of the project alongside Jen and Jean.
Please consider this your official invitation to what promises to be the most *Curious* and *Chummy* event of Portland's holiday design itinerary. Come down and chat-up some of our 59 Curiosity Club Alumni - that eclectic mix of local makers, thinkers and designers who shared their projects and insights at our bi-weekly speaker series since 2010. Intellectual stimulation and creative inspiration will be served alongside drinks and tasty treats from Pacific Pie Co.
This is your chance to meet and mingle with the presenters of the Hand-Eye Supply Curiosity Club: Our group boasts Designers, Engineers, Tinkerers, Makers, Writers, Theorists, Open Source Manufacturing advocates, Teachers, a Cyborg Anthropologist, a Historian, a Luthier, a Pinhole Camera maker, a Knife maker, a One-Wheeled Motorcycle designer and developer, a Chef, an Upholsterer, an amateur Rocket Scientist, an Improv Comedian, Cargo Bike Builders, Butchers, Programmers, Perfumists, Community Developers, Cryonicists and Artists, Tiny House enthusiasts and the list goes on with each area of expertise being equally fascinating.
Hand-Eye Supply enthusiastically announces our very first Quarterly Look Book - "Selections for Winter 2012", Art Directed and Photographed by Christine Taylor and Designed by Lyndsey Lee Denyer, showcasing workwear pieces from Pointer Brand's Special Make line paired with a few select pieces from the Hand-Eye Supply store.
Hand-Eye Supply's look book series will be released four times annually and feature some of our favorite maker personalities from Portland, OR. For our Winter 2012 book, Evan Kinkel of New Deal Distillery kindly offered to model our wares in their facility. New Deal Distillery provides high quality, craft-distilled spirits, inspired by the DIY spirit of Portland. Their artisanal vodkas are made locally in small batches with Bull Run (Portland's Reservoir) water and natural and organic ingredients, sourced locally whenever possible.
To celebrate 100 years of manufacturing durable, high quality workwear in the USA, the L.C. King Manufacturing Company has created the Pointer Brand Special Make Line - unique and small production runs inspired by their customers. Each piece is hand-sewn in Bristol, Tennessee as it has been since 1913.
Since Hand-Eye Supply has opened it's doors we've championed Pointer Brand for its heritage appeal and stalwart character. When we learned they'd be developing a new small run line tastefully tailored to contemporary tastes it was only natural for us to make the Pointer Brand Special Make line the center piece of our shoot.
New Deal Distillery provides high quality, craft-distilled spirits, inspired by the DIY spirit of Portland. All of our artisan vodkas are made locally in small batches with Bull Run water and natural and organic ingredients, sourced locally whenever possible.
If you're in PDX stop by Hand-Eye Supply tonight, Thursday Dec. 6th and party with us to mark the arrival of the first edition of our Hand-Eye Supply Quarterly and celebrate our creative collaborations during 2012. The party will feature delicious food from Pacific Pie Co. and beverages from New Deal Distillery; and complimentary copies of the Quarterly for our guests.
Billed as "the gear we like and how it works," Wired's month-long pop-up exhibition has been a perennial holiday destination in NYC for as long as we've published our own Ultimate Gift Guide. Entitled "What's Inside," the curated 'experience' is not a direct retail proposition—littleBits starter kits are the only thing that can be purchased on site—but it's tightly integrated with their online store, featuring nearly double the amount of products in their gift guide (including most of their 85 wishlist picks this year).
OtterBox's special 'exploded view' display of an iPhone
It also happens to be just up the block from Core HQ this year, and even though lower Broadway can seem like an outdoor shopping mall at times, it's more manageable than Times Square, where they'd set up shop last year. It's well worth a visit if you happen to be in the neighborhood, visiting another noteworthy Pop-Up Shop.
The prominently-displayed Faraday Porteur wasn't available for a test ride when I stopped by, but it's one of the few items that is visible from the street. Given the openness of the front third of the space, I was surprised to find densely packed shelves and display cases upon walking in; so too is the lower level packed with goodies (I'd overlooked several products my first time around; even Store Manager Noah Norman had trouble keeping track of where each and every item was located).
Let's celebrate! This Thursday, Dec. 6th in lovely Portland, Oregon Core77's retail store Hand-Eye Supply is throwing a party to celebrate our creative collaborations during 2012 and mark the arrival of the first edition of our Quarterly Look Book - "Selections for Winter 2012".
Guest bartender Alexia Paulsen will be mixing cocktails from New Deal Distillery, we'll eat tasty treats from Pacific Pie Co. and DJ Dickel will be spinning 78's spanning the first half of the 20th century and leather crafters Red Clouds Collective will set up a leather key chain making station.
Now that's what I call quick: twenty minutes of design followed by three (leisurely) days of fabrication to create four different tables and more than a half-dozen stools. Core77 fave Because We Can (we covered them last year here) used their extensive design experience and CNC mastery to whip up some tables on short notice for this year's Autodesk University. On display in the Creative Studio, not far from the ShopBots we'll get to soon, the tables were in constant use.
Because We Can Co-Founder Jeffrey McGrew breaks the project down:
We mentioned it in yesterday's announcement of our eighth annual Ultimate Gift Guide, but it bears repeating: it's time to celebrate! You've ogled the product on the Internets, now you finally have the chance to see it in person at our New York City pop-up shop at Blu Dot, a physical manifestation of the holiday gift guide, through December 24 (for you last-minute shoppers out there).
Designers of all phenotypes are invited to the launch party this Thursday, November 29, from 6–8PM—stop by to say hi, have a drink, and (of course) get some holiday shopping out of the way. If you're even thinking about coming, be sure to RSVP to rsvp[at]core77.com for guaranteed entry!
Core77 Pop-Up Shop
140 Wooster Street
New York, NY 10012
Open from 11AM - 7PM on Mon. - Sat. and 12PM - 6PM on Sundays through December 24
Micro Houses—structures that are often smaller than 200 square feet—have captured the attention of mainstream media and the hearts of thousands of Americans. They may be portable or fixed-in-place and may stand-alone or may be tethered to a "normal" house for utilities. These wee buildings are used as backyard studios, extra bedrooms, guest suites or full-time residences. Tiny House advocates explain that these small simple structures provide a flexible, affordable, reasonable (albeit small) solution for residential use, urban infill, and pocket communities. But what sort of person would actually want to live in (or next to) a house with less square footage than a roll of paper towels? Dee will offer her experience designing and building micro-houses with a focus on the unique benefits and challenges of taking small to the extreme.
Dee Williams is a designer, builder and certified tiny house nut! She teaches workshops across the country, with a focus on green building and micro-housing. She's also authored a how-to e-book, Go House Go, and has consulted with hundreds of people to design and build their own micro homes. She's been featured in Yes!Magazine, TIME Magazine, on Good Morning America, The New York Times, National Public Radio, PBS, and other media. In 2008, Dee won the Washington State Governor's Award for Sustainable Practices. Dee's house is currently featured in a five-year exhibit, House and Home, at the National Building Museum in Washington DC. You can see the video here!
What does the word "cryonics" bring to mind? Creepy scientists freezing dead bodies? Plumes of liquid nitrogen vapor as corpses are committed to the dewar? Dying people, desperately grasping at straws for another chance at life?
Chana will talk about these and other common images of cryonics as she leads a frank discussion of the history and the current state of cryonics as it is practiced in the real world. From "straight-freezing" the first human in 1967 to the development of carrier and vitrification solutions for optimal cryoprotection of the brain, cryonics advocates have made significant advances in cryobiological knowledge and cryopreservation technologies in hopes of extending and saving lives.
Despite these advances, cryonics still struggles to maintain credibility in the scientific mainstream and popular media. Chana will address this issue by inspecting how demographics have shaped the culture of cryonics and what cryonics organizations and members can do to get their image and message right.
Not in the greater Portland area? No problem! Join us live on our broadcast channel --the show begins at 6pm Pacific.
Chana de Wolf is a business manager and biomedical researcher in Portland. She holds a B.S. in Experimental Psychology, a M.S. in Neuroscience, and has extensive management and laboratory experience. She is a Director and researcher for Advanced Neural Biosciences, where she and her husband conduct cryonics-relevant research.
Chana became aware of cryonics while studying the neuroscience of aging and memory in graduate school circa 2003. She worked as a Research Associate at Alcor Life Extension Foundationin Scottsdale, AZ, from 2006-2008, where she also participated in human cryopreservation cases.
As a Director of the Institute for Evidence Based Cryonics, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to supporting research, education, and information dissemination in cryonics, Chana is uniquely situated to answer questions, address concerns, and dispel the many myths surrounding the practice and purpose of human cryopreservation.
Karim Rashid sez: "Human beings touch an average of 600 objects a day." I'm guessing that number drops, and becomes much more focused, during emergency situations. Here are the two things I touched most during the recent blackout.
Surprise winner: The iPod Nano I never ordinarily use.
The Nano's built-in radio tuner was my only link to mass media, and as I live in a city well-covered by broadcast towers the reception was crystal clear. The device is tiny and unobtrusive, easy to clip on the lapel of a shirt. It only had a sliver of battery life left, yet lasted hours longer than I thought it would, because after you turn the screen off it uses such little juice.
The Nano will now be a go-to piece of kit for me, as soon as I get around its only drawback (proprietary charging method) by acquiring a battery-powered iDevice charger. I'd recommend it for anyone not requiring a powerful antenna.
Expected winner: Surefire flashlight.
Undoubtedly the object I touched the most during the blackout whether cooking, trying to take a pee, or confronting someone I thought was breaking into the darkened diner downstairs (turned out to be the diner owner, who offered me free bagels in gratitude). I can't say the model I have, the E2L Outdoorsman, is any better or worse than competing ones, as the only thing I have to compare it to is the relatively wan Mag-Lites I grew up with. The ergonomics of tactical LED flashlights are obviously superior, requiring just one hand, and the beam is almost absurdly bright for something so small. The metal clip is sturdy and makes it easy to keep the thing at hand at all times.
However, there are two central design flaws that I see with LED flashlights like this. 1) A lack of visual feedback on power levels, and 2) no well-designed way to attach extra batteries.
1) When this flashlight does run out on you, it's completely without warning. One second it's working, one second it's not. Old-school flashlights start to get dim, telling you it's time to switch batteries.
I realize this would add to the cost, but I'd consider it a perfect object if there was an indicator of exactly how much battery life was left. I'd settle for a sequence of LED dots, but I'd pay more for a counter that dumbed it down—the way new cars tell you you've got 72 miles left in the tank—by telling me how many more minutes I could leave the thing on for.
2) The CR2 batteries required by LED flashlights are not easy for me to find locally, so I stock up on Amazon. But I don't like that they sit in the back of some drawer. I wish the Surefire had some type of clip-on thing so I could always keep the extra batteries together with it, in case it runs out while I'm in the middle of doing something important. I'm guessing someone makes a holster that holds both the flashlights and extra batteries, but I'd prefer not to have a separate thing, I'd like to see it built into the flashlight itself.
For those of you who missed it before—conceived by Jim Hoehnle and Chris Bentzen in 2004, Hot One Inch Action is the original, one-night only show of button art and social interaction from Vancouver, BC.
Hot One Inch Action reproduces the tiny art of 50 local artists on one inch buttons. At the show, we sell mixed packs of 5 buttons for $5. If you want a specific button, you'll either have to take a chance and buy more mixed packs of random buttons OR trade with the other people at the event.
With none of the pretentiousness of a regular art show, everyone interacts out of necessity—"I want that button!"—and the evening becomes a relaxed and fun event for people of all-ages.
This year's artists include: andyvanoverberghe, Audrey McNamara, Ben Bittner, Bryce Pedersen, Caprice White, Chris Bentzen, Chris Cilla, Chuck E. Bloom, Danielle Weiss, Darlene Schaper, DAVIE, Dick Mama, Emily Segel, Eric J. Millar, Erin Gibbs, Erin Nations, Far Sebastian, François Vigneault, Jackson Smith, Jacob Redmond, Jadah Goldblum, James Baker, Janette Ussher, Jennifer Winship Mark, Jess DeVries, Jesse Narens, Jill Bridgeford, K.J. Campbell, Kyley Quinn, Leda Zawacki, Mari Navarro, Marilyn Romaine, Matt Cosby, Matt Schlosky , Megan Carruthers, Murphy Phelan, Nicole Gartland, Patrick Woolworth, Peach MoMoKo, Pierre Leichner, Randall Cosco, Rose Thor, Starheadboy, Suzanna Wright, Tom O'Toole, Tyler Segel, Violet Tchalakov, White Swallows, Yo Mutsu, and Zachariah leBaron d'Avignon.
Mid-lower-Manhattan-blackout, I need to relocate my two dogs and I to somewhere with electricity and internet, so I can continue to earn a living. I didn't know who would and wouldn't have power and did not pre-plan a fallback location. But now I remember I've got a buddy staying at his boss' townhouse in the east 60s, within the powered zone. It's a longshot that they'll allow dogs, but he's the closest place I can walk to while towing two dogs, carrying my computer and lugging my own food & water.
But I won't walk up there unannounced; because I failed to work out contingencies in advance, I'd better ask before showing up. I can't call him, obviously, so I put rain gear on and head outside to make the 2.5-hour roundtrip.
What I see outside makes me change my mind about walking. The amount of damaged trees, huge branches in the street, collapsed awnings, and generally heavy things sitting in places they oughtn't, makes me think a long walk would be dumb. There are a lot of once-securely-mounted things on the average city block that can fall on you, and I don't want to be killed proving the law of gravity.
A second, more surprising thing I see that also makes me change my mind: there are tons of people outside—and taxis. It's not easy getting one, but ten minutes later I'm in a yellow Crown Vic headed uptown.
As we reach the 30s I see people on the sidewalk talking on cell phones, so I pull mine out and switch it on. Service! I call my buddy, and during our brief, choppy call, he apologetically tells me we can't be accommodated. Ah well. I have the cab turn around.
The most amazing thing I saw on that cab ride was this: No traffic lights were working below the 30s. And traffic, both pedestrian and vehicular, moved through those latter parts of the city flawlessly. Admittedly it wasn't a rush-hour level of traffic, but even still I'd have expected lots of near-misses, stymied pedestrians who couldn't cross, honking horns and curses. But there was none of that. My driver slowed at each intersection to look around, as did every other driver. Pedestrians watched cars going in the same direction as them, and crossed intersections when those cars crossed. We never sat still for more than a few seconds and it never seemed even remotely dangerous.
At just two major intersections we went through (23rd & 3rd and Delancey & Bowery) were there foot police directing traffic. Every other block worked flawlessly with no signals, just quick negotiating glances between drivers and pedestrians. I have more to say about this at the bottom of this entry.
Another thing that struck me was the amount of people, mostly tourist-looking, standing outside of closed subway stations and looking confused. They'd peer past the tape blocking the entrance, as if hoping to see something informative at the bottom of the stairs. I guess those without access to news would have no way of knowing the entire subway system had been shut off; I only knew because it had been mentioned in the radio broadcast.
During a crisis, there are a bunch of objects we interact with in hopes of saving our bacon or making life more convenient. Here I'll take a broad look at some of the objects that played a role, for both me and others, during the mere 24 hours that I was stuck in an electricity-free lower Manhattan during and after Hurricane Sandy. (And there are some topics I'd like to get reader feedback on later, particularly from those of you in hurricane country.)
I would not survive the zombie apocalypse, or even a mutant-free prolonged disaster. The weaknesses in my haphazard Hurricane Sandy planning, shoehorned in between work hours during the days leading up to the storm, made themselves clear on Game Day. Things that I thought were fully-charged were not; I needlessly drained battery life during the crisis; items I was certain I had on hand, I neglected to double-check for; and I'd made no plans for a fall-back position, as I own two rambunctious dogs, barring me from all government shelters and most reasonable people's homes.
There were plenty of things I got right, mostly easy things. I had enough non-perishable food and water to feed three people for 7-10 days. (I live alone, but most survival books espouse stocking enough for you and unexpected guests.) I had a portable stove and plenty of gas canisters to cook or boil water as needed. I had plenty of light sources in the form of candles, flashlights, batteries, matches. I had good bags to carry things in case I needed to pack up, and good adverse-weather clothing. I had antihistamines, meds, antibiotics and basic medical supplies. So I can cross Sustenance, Illumination, Clothing and First-Aid off the list. All of my failures were in Communications, and they were not errors of stocking, but of maintenance.
At 8:30pm on Monday night I was staring into my laptop when suddenly, noiselessly, everything around it simply went dark. The internet was gone too. I'd been expecting this moment and simply proceeded to watch a movie on the laptop, unconcerned with burning the battery as I reasoned a computer's not much use without Internet, and the Internet's not coming back on without the power.
Went to bed afterwards with a fully-charged phone, but stupidly neglected to switch it to airplane mode. As a result, the battery worked itself down to almost nothing overnight, as it fruitlessly kept searching for a signal in a neighborhood where no cell towers had power.
Woke up Tuesday morning with no household electric and a nearly dead phone. No problem, I think; I pull out the Mophie Juice Pack Air that I'd last charged several months ago, erroneously assuming it would retain the charge. It hasn't. Problem.
Gulf-state residents and those with hurricane experience would probably be horrified at some of the half-assed Sandy preparations made by New Yorkers. Here's a local restaurant in Evacuation Zone B, the secondary flood risk zone, and the steps they've taken to prevent flooding:
Yeah, I'm sure that'll keep the water out. I like that little extra four-inch strip of tape across the top, well done!
The nearby Apple Store has eschewed duct tape for something a little more substantial. But as you can see, it's presumably the local store manager, and not Jony Ive, who's in charge of floodproofing this branch:
The efficacy of sandbags against flooding depends on how the dikes are constructed. Below you see the ideal construction method, though it's not surprising that your average retail employee is probably not going to take the time to do this.
Heading over this morning to the high-end shopping strip of West Broadway, where every store seems to have huge windows, we see what's in the photo above. I have a hard time believing a few lousy strips of blue painter's tape can hold a window together. In fact meteorologist Chris Landsea, who is the Science and Operations Officer at the National Hurricane Center, writes "[taping windows] is a waste of effort, time, and tape. It offers little strength to the glass and NO protection against flying debris."
While I think whomever did the blue tape job was wasting their time, I think Landsea might be misguided—not in his stating of what tape won't do, but in his understanding of why people tape their windows. I'd always assumed people taped their windows—with sturdier duct or gaffer's tape, that is—in an effort to keep the glass itself from disintegrating into shard-like projectiles upon shattering. I never understood it to make the glass stronger or somehow serve as a protective net from flying debris impacting the glass.
That being said, I still suspect tape doesn't work at all; the paragraph above is my interpretation of what window-tapers think they're accomplishing.
So the question is, how did window-taping start? Clever marketing from 3M or a local retailer? Interestingly enough, the taping of windows was done by the Brits in World War II as part of ARP (Air Raid Precautions) measures during the German bombing Blitz. As you can see from the images below, the taping was rather more thorough than the half-assery pictured up top.
Explains a gent named Peter Johnson writing on a UK website about life in the 1900s,
[During the Blitz] each house was given some rolls of gummed brown sticky paper about 3 inches wide. These were for sticking to the inside of all the windows from corner to corner in a diagonal pattern to prevent shards of glass from flying into the rooms in a bomb blast.
What no one mentions, however, was whether this actually worked.
In the opening minutes of zombie fare like The Walking Dead and 28 Days Later, the protagonist awakens after a long sleep with no knowledge of what has recently transpired. As the protagonist wanders his immediate surroundings, the filmmakers must effectively use visuals to let him, and the viewers, conclude that something has gone awry.
If you woke up this morning in downtown Manhattan and had no knowledge of the impending "Frankenstorm," it wouldn't take you long to figure out something's up. The moment my eyes opened this morning, my disquiet began, ironically prompted by quiet. The jackhammering construction crew that has so relentlessly been waking my neighbors and I for the past month had fallen blissfully silent, with the Mayor calling for a complete construction halt.
Stepping outside to relieve my two dogs, I was greeted with a visual difference on each corner: The garbage cans that usually serve as curbside sentinels have all been upended and placed against walls by sanitation crews, in hopes of minimizing them being picked up by high winds and turned into projectiles. Whether or not that's effective remains to be seen, but it probably can't hurt.
Wandering further afield we find abandoned SoHo streets near Core77 HQ, bereft of shoppers, with everyone closed for business. With NYC having taken the unusual step of shutting down the subway last night, both shoppers and shopkeepers are not making the journey in. The only other folk I saw on the street were fellow dog owners making the rounds with their pooches, and the occasional disappointed tourist family that had wandered out of nearby hotels in search of something still open.
We all owe Bill Moggridge more than we think we do. In fact, anyone who uses a laptop has Bill to thank for being the first person to design one, blowing minds when he brought portability to computer hardware for GRiD Systems in 1982. It was Moggridge's idea to create a display that closed over the keyboard. At the time it retailed for $8,150, a selling price that kept it from becoming commonplace in most homes, but didn't deter NASA, who used it in every Space Shuttle mission from 1983 to 1997.
Moggridge later founded IDEO with David Kelley and Mike Nuttal in Palo Alto, California, a design practice that was groundbreaking in its human-centric approach. "He really saw that we would get ideas from understanding people," said Kelley. Moggridge put empathizing with people at the forefront of his design process, and even brought psychologists into IDEO to help further that understanding - all before he tackled the design of the product or system itself.
Moggridge left IDEO in 2010 to accept the role of Director of the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, a move that might also be considered groundbreaking as Moggridge was the first museum director without a museum background. There, Moggridge made a huge effort to make design accessible to visitors and his educational initiatives brought design into elementary and middle schools in New York City. The fantastic Bill's Design Talks series were always free for students to attend, and his ultimate goal was to make design a viable career choice for children to consider once they reached high school.
On Thursday, November 1, 2012 join Tim Brown, John Maeda, Bruce Nussbaum and Ellen Lupton in conversation with Helen Walters at Symphony Space as they discuss the monumental career and life's work Moggridge has left behind.