Monday, December 31, 2007

Christopher Hitchens

This morning I was listening to Michael Krasny interview essayist, atheist, former Trotskyist, Christopher Hitchens on KQED radio.

My first impression of Hitchens was that he was an intellectual upper class twit. But because I'd heard that he was an outspoken atheist, I wanted to listen to what he had to say (With public figures I separate their religious and political beliefs. But for some reason, I don't do that with atheists: If my man is an atheist, then I'm sure I'll probably agree with him on other issues. That's why I listened to the interview. That's bad. Shame on me). I thought he might be a British Noam Chomsky. He turned out to be a brutish Rush Limbaugh. And just like Limbaugh, you should listen to him, at least once, so you know whom you're dealing with.

Hitchens has a poor opinion of Muslims. I salute his outspoken honesty. He thinks we are in a war against Muslims. I do not. His opinion of Muslims are "They won't change their mind and they can't change the subject" (my quote is from Churchill, not Hitchens. This was Churchill's Definition of a fanatic). I agree.

And Hitchens is "slightly" for Bush. I am not.

I must admit, ignoring his Bush/Iraq/Islam views, he is right about most things. But I still wouldn't want this man in my Union, or on my picket line.


Sunday, December 30, 2007

Wright's Taliesin West Garden Room

Taliesin (pronounced Tal-ie-s-in) West school was built on a 600 acre desert estate near Phoenix over many years by Taliesin students, starting in 1937. It's the main campus of the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture.

These photos are of the Wright living room. Wright constantly made changes to his living room over the years, probably experimenting with different materials and designs. He called it the Garden Room; it looks out onto a lush garden.

The floor is concrete. Initially, the canvas that was used for the roof, extended down the sides to the masonry walls. Glass windows were added later. The roof beams were replaced with steel, and electric lighting was added.


Saturday, December 29, 2007

Taliesin West

We took a tour of Frank Lloyd Wright's architecture school, located in beautiful desert outside Scottsdale.
The tour included his bedroom, movie theater, theater, cabaret, and living room. Areas used by students, such as the drafting room, were off limits.

In the living room we got to sit in these original Wright chairs! The chairs are comfortable and ergonomic. This room was used for entertaining, and includes one of the pianos Wright liked to play. The seating along the wall works well and I'd like to see this type of seating used in contemporary homes because it offers so much choice for where you want to sit.

All the buildings on campus have walls made from cement and rock. The rocks are naturally flat on one side. Redwood was used for ceiling beams, but the desert insects in Arizona quickly destroyed it. It was replaced with steel. All the doorways are only 6 feet high. And all the ante rooms are small and low, so as to create a feeling of space on entering the main room.

Friday, December 28, 2007


I've been using the Apple iPhone for 2 weeks, and I'm ready to make some comments:
The iPhone deserves most of the praise it's getting. I'm not going to write about that. You've already heard it all. I'll only mention the problems I'm having.

Everyone loves the iPhone, but I'm not one of them, yet. My last phone was a Palm Treo 650, which had thousands of free and cheap applications written for it. I do expect to become an iPhone fan after Apple releases the Software Developement Kit (SDK) in February and we start to get the same sort of applications as Palm Treo owners. But for now, I have some concerns:

1) The browser crashes. It could be worse. At least reopening the browser takes you back to where you were before the crash. Yesterday Safari was crashing every few minutes, so I finally reset my iPhone, and it fixed the problem.
2) Their is no way to cut and paste text.
3) The iPod application will crash after a few minutes when it's playing in the background and I'm using another application.
4) The keyboard is good. I'm becoming more comfortable with it but the Treo keyboard is quicker.
5) Safari closes when I get a phone call.
6) Mail moved from the "Sent" file to the "Drafts" file is lost.

Those are my only complaints. I expect Apple and 3rd partys will plug the applications gap and add new functions, such as video/audio recording.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Sun Shade

Today in Scottsdale Arizona I saw the type of shaded parking I want for my workplace in sunny Fremont California.

The sun shade is made from steel, with a canvas awning. Simple and civilized.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Airbus 320-321

Lani and I are off to Phoenix for four nights, and we're flying there in an Airbus 320 operated by Ted airlines. Before today I hadn't heard of Ted.

Lani thinks they got the name from the pilot "Ted Striker" in the 1980 movie comedy "Airplane". I think they got the name by taking the "Union" out of "United".

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Monday, December 24, 2007

Toshiba Regza 47HL167 HDTV

After a year of procrastination I finally made a decision today and bought an HD LCD TV. Amazon had a sale, and I was comfortable with the sub $1200 price, which includes free delivery and no sales tax.


Sunday, December 23, 2007

Concrete Corbusier LC2

"Domage a Corbu, grand confort, sans confort" (1980), by Swiss interior architect and designer Stefan Zwicky. Concrete and rebar.

The Demisch Danant gallery sold the one ton Zwicky chair for more than $40,000.

Thanks Apartment Therapy

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Antonov An-22

When it first flew in 1965, the turboprop An-22 was the largest aeroplane in the world.

The An-22 was designed for rough field operation. It has set 14 aviation records. The An-22 is still a popular aircraft, as it offers rare payload carrying abilities.

Some notable features of the An-22 include comprehensive navigation and precision drop avionics complete with three separate radars, windows under the nose for the navigator, a 14-wheel undercarriage (tire pressures on early versions could be adjusted from the flight-deck to optimize the aircraft for different airfield surfaces), a reinforced titanium floor, four overhead gantries and two floor winches for freight handling. The main cargo bay is 33 meters (108 feet) long, and is accessed through a rear loading ramp. The ramp can be opened in flight for airdrop of cargoes. The main cargo hold is not pressurized. Troops/passengers are carried in a forward cabin which accommodates 29. Personnel access is through a door in each landing gear fairing.

- Crew: 5-6
- Capacity: 29 passengers
- Payload: 80,000 kg (180,000 lb)
- Length: 57.9 m (190 ft 0 in)
- Wingspan: 64.4 m (211 ft 3 in)
- Height: 12.53 m (41 ft 1 in)
- Wing area: 345 m² (3,713 ft²)
- Empty weight: 114,000 kg (251,330 lb)
- Max takeoff weight: 250,000 kg (551,000 lb)
- max speed at altitude 740 KPH 460 MPH / 400 KT
- Powerplant: 4× Kuznetsov NK-12MA turboprops driving contra-rotating propellers, 11,030 kW (15,000 shp) each [The same engine powered the Tupolev Tu-95/Tu-142 Bear family of bombers and maritime patrol aircraft and are they are the most powerful turboprop engines in service]

- Maximum speed: 740 km/h (400 knots, 460 mph)
- Range: 5,000 km (2,700 nm, 3,100 mi)
- Service ceiling: 8,000 m (26,240 ft)

Sources put the total number built at between 75 and 100, with the last one built in 1974 or 1975.

The An-22 was later replaced by the larger turbojet An-124. And today the An-225 is the largest aeroplane in the world.

All information and photos from Wikipedia, TheAviationZone, FAQS, Decker

Friday, December 21, 2007

Rankin - Eyescapes

John Rankin Waddell (working name Rankin, born 1966, Paisley, Glasgow) is a British portrait and fashion photographer.


Thursday, December 20, 2007

"Shot from the Beaubourg Museum at Paris..." -Erathic Invad3r

Thanks Avant Garde Retard

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Concrete Jewellery

Concrete is normally used for bridges, buildings and roads. Architects haven't had much luck making cement structures that age gracefully. After a few decades the raw cement looks cold, bleak, uninviting.

So, it is unusual to see concrete used to make rings, pendants and earrings. We buy jewellery for its beauty, and we intent to keep it for a long time. Concrete jewellery would seem to be a gamble: how will it look in twenty years?

Thanks 2modern