Friday, August 31, 2007

Enjoy the Weekend

Avoid the Sausalito Art Festival this Labor Day weekend, and save yourself from the parking, heat, crowds and mediocre art.

Instead, if you live in SF, I suggest you come to my neighbourhood and visit the De Young art museum instead. Have lunch on Irving Street and then explore Golden Gate Park. You'll have a much more pleasant time.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Propeller Aeroplanes

The scimitar propeller blades on the Antonov An-70 resemble an exotic flower. Each of the four propfan engines on the An-70 has two counter-rotating propellers with 6 and 8 blades. These allow the 'plane to achieve almost turbofan engined speed, but with much better fuel economy.

What a pleasure it would be to see these aeroplanes flying into San Francisco through the Golden Gate.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Monday, August 27, 2007

Mr Red White and Blue

I used to owned a very nice Honda Civic Si. The previous owner was proud of his town and proud of his driving. The license plate read PRIDE (Civic pride, get it?) and the SCCA sticker in the back window looked just like a US Marines insignia. And since "The Proud, the few" was a Marine recruiting slogan, and I had a #3 buzzcut, some people made the connection and assumed I was a Marine.

It is a very high compliment to be mistaken for a Marine!

Categories:San Francisco

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Super 8

The postings on Retro Thing remind to me of things from my youth:
My father borrowed a Super 8 camera to film a wedding, and he let my sister and I use up the end of the film. I filmed a float plane (amphibious aeroplane) landing on Lake Wakatipu (dull), and Sue filmed wedding guests at the brides' parents' holiday house the day after the wedding (very good).

When the developed film came back weeks later, I learnt that the brain is selective about what the eyes see, but cameras are not. My float plane was so far away, it was a dot on the water. While Sues' party people filled the screen.


Saturday, August 25, 2007

LLOW Cab and other SF Icons

SFPD cruiser, Macy*s, Yellow Cab, and MUNI bus.

Friday, August 24, 2007

1241 6th Avenue

"Drenched in natural light, this top floor unit has tons of period detail, spacious rooms and a gracious feel. Located in the heart of the Inner Sunset, it is close to UCSF, Irving Street Shops and Restaurants, MUNI and Golden Gate Park...Two Bedrooms, one bathroom, eat-in kitchen, large living room. Don't miss this gem!"

In San Francisco the average price of condos rose from $715,000 in February 2006 to $772,000 in February 2007. In the same period, the average price of homes rose from $822,500 to $850,000.

Until a year ago we rented the second floor flat in this building for $1200 a month.
This is the top floor flat where Erika lived. It's for sale. $579,000.

Categories:San Francisco

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Free Wash and Dry

I wish I'd known about this hack when we were renting an apartment.
And yes, it is stealing.

One of the comments:
"Never used a q-tip, but we used metal "claws" at school and it worked great."

Thanks TecheBlog

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Michael Whitney Clocks

A few weeks ago I was inspired by the Dali-esque clock, and I ordered a clock movement from Clockparts. Since then my enthusiasm has waned, as I've been reluctant to put one of my vinyl records in the oven.

Now, new inspiration has come from the artist Michael Whitney, who sees the perfect clock housings in discarded objects.

Thanks Apartment Therapy

Monday, August 20, 2007

Beriev A-40 Albatross

The Russian Beriev A-40 is currently the worlds' largest amphibious aircraft. It was designed to access remote areas in the east of the Soviet Union, transport replacement maritime crews, search and rescue, and perform anti-submarine operations. In civilian service, variants of the A-40 have been used as an airliner, air tanker, and cargo carrier.

It made its' first water landing outside of Russia on the Waitemata harbour, Auckland, New Zealand in 1992.

Crew of 8
Dimensions :
Span : 41.62m (153.5ft)
Length : 43.8m (143.8ft)
Height : 11.0m (36.3ft)
Max. Takeoff Weight : 86,000kg (189595lb)

Power Plant : 2x 12025kgp (26,455lb static thrust) PERM Soliev D-30KPV turbofans
Performance :
max speed : 760km/h (472mph)
ceiling : 9,700m (31,825ft)
range w/max payload : 4100km (2547miles)


Sunday, August 19, 2007

Dust Pan Design Concept

This design concept by Paul Sandip is made from a single piece of polypropylene, and has a thin front edge to pick up dirt. Tip the pan up, and the handle funnels the dirt into even the smallest trash can.

Thanks Coroflot

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Najaro - Completely Full of S#!t

The container used for this flavoured water drink caught my attention. It's a hybrid: A plastic bottle with a tear-tab top. So it's probably not recyclable.

The drink is made in China and sold here by Najaro.

And Najaro has integrity. I know, because they told me themselves. Four times! Count 'em:

"In all we do, we strive to do it with the utmost integrity, honesty, and good will. We realize that without YOU our customers, we are nothing. We sincerely thank you for your continued support of our products.
The NAJARO GROUP was formed to fill the void between ingenuity and production. What we mean is that we wanted to be the stop-gap between all of us that dreamed of producing one thing or another, but never did it. However, most importantly, our company is integrity based. We understand that it would be extremely difficult for any company to produce products that will make everyone happy, but what we can do is to make certain that we produce products with the utmost integrity."

And in the spirit of real @$$holes, they reference Jesus... "John 14:6" ... Jesus answered, I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.


Friday, August 17, 2007

Plug Clock

Does your water twirl down the drain clockwise? (Actually, the rotation of the earth has almost no effect on which way the water goes down the drain. The water drains in whichever direction it starts moving).

This idea would never have occurred to me. I think it has strong novelty value.

Thanks CribCandy

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Vacuum Cleaner Lamp

Designed by Angele Riguidel and sold by Uncommon Goods. The light appears to be made from a 1930's Swedish made Electrolux and a car headlight. The design uses the vacuum power cord to power a 12 volt transformer housed in the body of the vacuum.

Thanks Funfurde

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Perimeter Disc Brakes

I saw a perimeter disc brake for the first time today. It was on a Buell motorcycle, and as far as I know, Buell is the only company using this design on a mass produced motorcycle.

Most disc brakes are mounted to the wheel hub, and the braking force is transmitted to the tyre through the spokes and rim. But here the disc is mounted directly to the rim, so the spokes can be much lighter (less unsprung weight). The disc has a large surface area and is hugely powerful.


Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Home Improvement

This installation was made on a bungalow housing the Art League of Houston. The building has since been replaced by a new larger structure.

Thanks Tropolism
Categories:Architecture Art

Monday, August 13, 2007


Aperture is a project by Frédéric Eyl and Gunnar Green, of the University of the Arts, Berlin.

Thanks Design Boom

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Can You Survive in the Near Vacuum of Space?

If you wandered outside your space ship without wearing a space suit, would you burst like a balloon?
Surprising audio answer from The Naked Scientists on BBC Radio:


Friday, August 10, 2007

Bamboo Bathroom Sink

They're expensive ($580+), and require special care. They come in only one shape, but many colours.

Made by Modern Vessel:
"Sustainability is an important value at Modern Vessel and bamboo is perhaps the ultimate in sustainable construction materials. The stalks grow to maturity and are typically harvested in just 4-7 years. Moreover, only the stalks are harvested, leaving the clumps and roots to begin growing back almost immediately. Land is not left barren and soil erosion is minimal."

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Architecture of Integration - Pushing the Limits

WhatISee of NY cleverly calls this a "Parasite Building".
Notice that the floors of the new building don't line up with the windows of the old facade. For this reason, the new building does not get my approval.


Wednesday, August 08, 2007

D' Wallet

While Used Rubber is still my favourite wallet, this wallet from BlueSky of Australia is a contender. Apart from the unfortunate name, the Dosh looks to be a very good wallet:
Made from a "blend of flexible and semi-flexible polymers", the wallet "is durable, stylish, and packed with clever features for modern lifestyles".
$A50 here.

Thanks 2Modern

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

WTC Competition Leftover

In an international competition, this design was chosen for the Millennium Tower World Business Center in Busan, Korea. The finished towers will be 1840'.

I wonder how these towers would look in Lower Manhattan?

Thanks Design Boom

Sunday, August 05, 2007

High Tide

This car body repair shop on Gate Five Rd in Sausalito floods whenever there's a particularly high tide. This photo was taken on Saturday.

Click on the photo to view the full image.

Ask a Civil Engineer

Like most people, I'm fascinated by the collapse of this Mississippi River bridge in Minneapolis.

Looking at this image, I can pretend to understand the forces involved. But to understand what really happened, I asked an expert bridge builder, my brother John:

"In 90% of cases like this the collapse is due to fatigue. I got a report today on this bridge that was done in 2001. The bridge was designed to old AASHTO standards that are now known to be very non-conservative for fatigue. That's why the 2001 study was done. The result of the study was that the bridge detailing (welding etc) is very vulnerable to fatigue, but that the stresses are low. They concluded that fatigue "shouldn't" be a problem.

"I wonder? I note from photos that only half the bridge lanes were open. So loading shouldn't have been a factor. I also noted that the deck repairs seem to involve a deck overlay (ie thickening of the deck). This would add a huge extra weight to the bridge. The other problem is that there are only 2 trusses carrying 8 lanes and the trusses have absolutely no redundancy. So any member failure could be catastrophic.

"The good thing, is that like all disasters, there will be no trouble getting funds for bridge maintenance etc for a few years until memories fade."

Photo by Mordac

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Friday, August 03, 2007

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Unusual Demolition

The 1965 P&O building in London is being demolished from the bottom up!

That's because of the way it was built: Each of the 15 floors is suspended from beams at the top of the building. The beams are supported by the concrete core of the building.

I wonder if this would be a good design for California earthquakes?

Thanks Gizmodo

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

TerraPass Negative

TerraPass is a company that accepts donations and funnels the money to companies researching clean sources of energy and reduced CO2 emissions.

My negative comment on Monday about TerraPass deserves explanation. These are my objections to the TerraPass model:

1) TerraPass takes your money, and keeps some of it for themselves. They are for profit. I don't believe capitalism can solve the environmental problems that corporate greed created.

2) I believe their work is futile: As long as there is still profit to be made from oil, we will not be getting an alternative form of energy.

3) There is no way to quantify the CO2 reduction from a donation to TerraPass.

4) It may sooth the conscience of TerraPass contributors to think they're doing something. That may be the only benefit of TerraPass.