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Sunday, January 23, 2005

Icy creations

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We stopped in Halethorpe on our way home to Baltimore Friday night to behold our friend Bill's ice sculpture. He and his creation are pictured above in a time exposure. Bill snaked a garden hose to the top of his swing set and suspended the spray nozzle above his decomissioned Christmas tree. For 12 hours in last week's below freezing cold, he misted water over the tree, which grew a shell of beautiful crystaline knobs and spikes.

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Bill left a string of colored lights in the tree, and with some jiggling after the ice formation, lit up the interior of the tree so that it could offer up some very pleasing nighttime close-ups.

Alaskan_ice_wall_2005I imagined other people have thought to do this too and hit Google. Sure enough, among other random examples, I found an artist in Fairbanks, Alaska named John Reeves who has created two ice sculptures using a segmented vertical water pipe rig and a specially-designed array of spray nozzles. The works are big.

The current ice wall, a more ambitious iteration of last year's, is, as of January 22, 2005, 97-feet tall and still growing in temperatures that go as low as 50 below. With the help of climbers from the Alaskan Alpine Club, the twin pipes at the core have been extended in 10-foot increments, and the nozzles have been spraying water almost non-stop since November 2004.

Last year's ice wall sculpture, titled Foxman's Raven, was built from October 2003 to April 2004, and ended up being 80 feet high, 140 feet long and 40 feet wide. Voids inside the sculture created ice caverns to explore. At its largest, the sculture weighed an estimated 45,000 pounds, and took a 106 degree day in July 2004 to melt completely away.

Reeves didn't embed lights in his works as Bill did, opting for some reason to just dump dyes on the ice to colorize the work a bit. Perhaps getting power to the spot was an issue, but for the next one, I hope they do add lights. Lighting the ice wall from within would dramatically showcase the spikey ice caverns.

A member of the club is documenting the project on the club's web site. Be sure to check back in the coming weeks for progress reports. The club has also collected an excellent page of other ice walls (used to train ice climbers) around the world.

01:56 AM in Baltimore | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Saturday, January 08, 2005

Sure shot

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In the same vein as my photo of the bottom of a Diet Coke bottle, here's the last bit of a 1.7 oz. stick of Sure Original Solid Anti-perspirant & Deodorant.

09:42 PM in Photography | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Thursday, January 06, 2005

SNIF - Social Networking In Fur

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I noticed the poster (JPEG image) for this fanciful MIT Media Lab Tangible Interfaces class project, Social Networking In Fur, on Noah Fields' web site recently, and asked him more about it. Noah said he and his team have turned the poster into some prototype hardware and a paper. Good buddy that he is, he posted a page with all the project resources. Here's the usage scenario from their conference paper (PDF):

Lola takes her dog Fifi for a walk. Before leaving the house, Lola puts her new SNIF collar around Fifi's neck and attaches her new leash to it. On their way to the park, Lola can see a dog and his owner coming towards them. LEDs on Fifi's collar start flashing, showing that a secured ID transfer occurs between the two collars. While approaching, the other dog sees Fifi and starts barking suddenly. Lola has to pull on Fifi's leash to avoid the fight, and walks past the other dog. She pushes the button 'Incompatible' on the leash and keeps walking.

At the park, Lola greets the other dog owners and releases Fifi's leash. Fifi goes to play with the other dogs, her collar recording the IDs of dogs she spends the most time with along with some additional information such as activity levels during the encounters. While Fifi is enjoying her time, Lola discusses with other dog owners.

After an hour, Lola calls Fifi. She attaches the leash again, which starts the transfer of information collected from the collar to the leash and updates the external SNIF server. On the way home, Lola notices that the leash starts blinking red, indicating the presence of another dog coming towards them, with whom Fifi is not comfortable. She anticipates the encounter and crosses the road to avoid a confrontation.

Back at home, Lola checks on the SNIF website and learns about her dogs' new friends through the profiles left by their respective owner. Later in the day, she notices that one of Fifi's friends, Sugar, just reached the park. Lola met Sugar's owner a couple of times, a woman who teaches French cooking, and Lola has always wanted to learn how to make a good terrine. 'Time for a walk', she said to herself, smiling as she grabs the leash and calls Fifi.

Given the growing pervasiveness of wireless networking, SNIF doesn't seem too farfetched, but my dog would be clueless about SNIF since she's all about the sniffing.

While you're at Noah's web site, check out his blog, and his ongoing research into navigating panoramic multi-image landscapes.

05:31 PM in Human-Computer Interaction, MIT Media Lab | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Sunday, January 02, 2005

2005 bursts over Baltimore's Inner Harbor

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After Amy decided to go to bed early with Cianna on New Year's Eve, I decided to ride down to the Inner Harbor to see the fireworks. From past experiences, I knew to park away from the harbor area near Mercy Hospital on North Charles Street to avoid the post show traffic jam. The walk was easy and the crowd wasn't that bad in front of the Pratt Street Pavillion. This is the view of the fireworks with the U.S.S. Constellation in the foreground. Here's my moblog post.

Happy New Year!

06:47 PM in Baltimore | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack