Shape-Shifting Dresses Respond To Stares


A great dress can easily move people into long fits of staring. Conversely, now those long fits of staring can actually move a dress.

It’s not polite to stare. But you might not be able to help yourself if you see someone wearing either of these two dresses made by fashion designer Ying Gao. Each one contorts and lights up whenever it detects a fixed gaze.

“We use an eye-tracking system so the dresses move when a spectator is staring,” Gao toldDezeen. “(The system) can also turn off the lights, then the dresses illuminate.”

The dresses are embedded with eye-tracking technology that reacts to an observer’s gaze by activating tiny motors that move parts of the dress in captivating patterns. Both gaze-activated dresses use glow-in-the-dark thread, creating a psychedelic effect when under black lights. One dress boasts an experimental design with luminescent tendrils, while the other has a more traditional cut.

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Future Buildings Could be Made of Artificial Bone


This photo shows the brick-and-mortar pattern of simulated bone and nacre against the backdrop of real nacre found in the inner shell of many molluscs.
 material in town and its origins may surprise you.

Developed by researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), human bone is the inspiration behind the latest high-tech composite, which can be made in just a few hours using a 3D printer.

The new material, which is lauded for its durability, low density and environmentally sustainable constituents, gets its strength from its bone-like structure. Real bones have a complex hierarchical structure thanks to their two main building blocks, collagen protein and hydroxyapatite minerals.

MIT’s new material replicates this hierarchical pattern, which is produced in bones with the help of electrochemical reactions. Such reactions are difficult to reproduce in a lab, but with a 3D printer, the researchers were able to replicate the fracture-resistant structure.


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living computer created with slime mold

I think I’ve got some in my little Acer Aspire…


The future of computing might just come from slime molds! Turns out these uber smart, super weird molds can do things that even our most advanced computers can’t handle. Anthony explains why they’re so cool, and what it might mean for next-gen tech.




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Tiny Channels Take Salt From Seawater


Drinking water is a vital need in many parts of the world, and one method of getting it is desalination, which is just taking the salt out of seawater. But the plants require either lots of energy or special filters — and both of those things are costly.

Now there’s a possible workaround: a system of tiny channels, built into a chip, that pulls the salt out of the water with little energy and no need for filter technologies that are difficult to make and maintain.

That would be a huge boon to areas where water is scarce, but seawater isn’t. The largest desalination plant is in Saudi Arabia, and some Caribbean islands depend on it. Both locales need a lot of energy to run the plants, though. The world Health Organization says about a billion people around the world have no access to safe water. Many of those people…

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Colossal Art and Visual Ingenuity…

It never occurred to me that taking just one Art History course could have such an impact on how I view the world.  Early on, the instructor commented, ‘Art is happening NOW’.  This sounds rather obvious, but for a girl firmly enamoured with the painting and sculpture of the Renaissance, it was a shift to imbue  contemporary art with the  same place.

But there’s some incredible contemporary art out there.  In fact, there’s almost no end to it.  It’s different than historical art, but none the less skillful, original and noteworthy.   This week I found  a site called Colossal – Art and Visual Ingenuity, and indeed it is.

Among other innovative and thoughtfully executed projects like painting with light and shadows, ‘sandwich’ books toothpick sculptures of San Francisco – this Optical Illusion House in London had me musing and gazing for quite a while.

optical house

Wikipedia defines art as, ‘The expression or…

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A Hard Look at UK Austerity and Correcting the Mistaken Lessons of History – John Gelmini

A special thanks to Gogwit’s Blog for bringing this to my attention…

At this stage, when even the International Monetary Fund has turned against Osborne and called upon him to reverse course, I won’t bother retreading the arguments against austerity. Suffice it to say that compared with the behavior of the U.S. economy, which until recently was benefitting from a Keynesian fiscal stimulus, the U.K. economy has been performing dismally. The British G.D.P. is still almost four per cent smaller than it was at the start of the 2008-09 financial crisis. Confirming that Osborne’s obsession with deficit reduction has proved self-defeating, the U.K. budget deficit is about eight per cent of the G.D.P., which is roughly twice the size of the U.S. deficit.

Despite this sorry record, Osborne hasn’t been run out of office. Recently, in fact, he’s gotten something of his old smirk back. The most interesting—and depressing—aspect of his latest pronouncement is how little outrage it provoked. In the country of Keynes’s birth, it’s almost as if he never existed. Despite the example of the United States, many Britons have lost faith in the government’s capacity to borrow and spend its way out of a recession. Even with interest rates at record lows, they worry about the consequences of taking on more debt. When Osborne said, “If we abandon our deficit plan, Britain would be back in intensive care,” many people believed him.

It’s reached the stage where even the Labour Party has adopted the language of austerity. Rather than laughing at Osborne’s discredited economic projections and pledging to reverse his cuts, Ed Balls, Labour’s senior economic official, has promised to keep in place the government’s spending plans after the next general election. Ed Miliband, the Labour leader,ruled out more borrowing to finance day-to-day spending. (He left himself a little wiggle room on capital spending.)

How did things get to this sad state? The answer has more to do with recent history, and the lessons that people take from it, than it does with economic theory. In Britain, as in the United States, conservative economists remain on the defensive: Keynesianism is struggling not in the Academy but, rather, in pubs and sitting rooms.

Coming out of the financial crisis that plunged Britain into its deepest recession since the nineteen-thirties, the message that ordinary Britons should have taken was that building an economy on a deregulated financial-services sector and a housing bubble is asking for trouble. Instead, many people accepted the interpretation, peddled enthusiastically by the conservatives and their supporters in the media, that the real problem was excessive borrowing by the Labour governments of Tony Blair and Gordon Brown.

It’s true that Blair and Brown did let the deficit rise in the later years of Labour rule, but not to dangerous levels. Even in 2007, the deficit was still below three per cent of the G.D.P. When the Great Recession hit and tax revenues collapsed, it rose to more than ten per cent of the G.D.P. As in the United States, what ballooned the deficit was the recession. And the government’s prior borrowing didn’t cause that recession: the financial crisis and the bursting of the housing bubble were the culprits.

Soumyadeep Bhaumik’s review of Indian medical papers—18 June 2013

Dr. Soumyadeep Bhaumik

One of the most enthralling articles that caught my attention last month was one entitled “Knowledge and practice of clinical ethics among healthcare providers in a government hospital, Chennai” published in the Indian Journal of Medical Ethics. It revealed that 30% of the responders did not give a definition of healthcare ethics (and I am inclined to think they did not know what it is), and 40% did not name a single ethical principle (again, I suspect they did not know of any). What I found more alarming was the fact that, “25 out of 51 physicians stated that they did not have time to listen to their patients.” 25 out of 51 physician responders also did not respond to the part of the questionnaire that asked them to name the principles of the Hippocratic Oath. All this makes me think that medical ethics in India is not well known…

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Never trust anyone who is rude to a waiter | Life and style | The Observer

Never trust anyone who is rude to a waiter | Life and style | The Observer.

This is dedicated to Break Room Stories

Close, Near Kruger National Park, South Africa – Tom Svensson


close encounter with a cheetah, near kruger national park, south africa (image: tom svensson; courtesy

close encounter with a cheetah, near kruger national park, south africa (image: tom svensson; courtesy

Close, Near Kruger National Park, South Africa – Tom Svensson.