Dollar Store Design

No, this site hasn’t morphed into an Engrish rip-off.  I’ve just been spending a lot of time in dollar stores lately. Haunting the aisles of the cheap and easily broken, one begins to pick up on certain design tropes prevalent in goods sold at or near the amount of a dollar.  With the caveat that I am still a young grasshopper when it comes to big-city bargain hunting in the modern five and dime, I will attempt to sketch out some observations on national trends in decoration for products cheaply manufactured. Now nothing says cheap like retro styling. In the above label for a ‘Movable Stick’, note the overall 70s vibe.  Warm colors.  Soft focus clip art.  Wavy rainbow lines.  And dig the simplistic logo for Min Long Craft that nearly screams “Owner/Operator/Creative Director” I find the sum effect pretty reassuring of a half-assed product at a price low enough […]

The Future is Anti-Terror Assspiders

Somewhere in the course of watching the video for the new Basement Jaxx track “Scars” (below), stray bits of internet gibberish latched upon each other and balled up into a fistula of pure awkward future.  Try to stay with me on this as I regurgitate bits off of my Twitter feed… First bit: al-Qaeda has taken a page from drug mules everywhere and is now into keestering explosives for the most embarrassing of suicide bombings. Second: Italian science has brought us robotic spiders that can crawl though your digestive track and scope around. Somewhere at the midpoint of the video below, where the fang-faced caterpillars really get wriggly, the future of airport security reared its arthropod head winked: soon, at the metal detectors, they’ll not be content to just scan my muddy fake Chucks but will be threading robot spiders up my ass to check for C-4.

Rise Above: Commuting by Airship

While I don’t bitch much about the lack of flying cars–c’mon, driving’s dangerous enough in two dimensions–the near complete disappearance of the dirigible as a transportation option strikes me as a missed opportunity.  Geez, you have one massive fireball over New Jersey and everybody freaks out… Alexandros Tsolakis and Irene Shamma are keeping the faith, though.  Their entry for the Reburbia design competition envisions a network of commuter airships making sense of suburban sprawl in a sustainable and beautifully futuristic manner. Their proposed airships can haul 400 people at 150 km/h with their stations stops built up, not out or under, so as to ease the complications that mass transit infrastructure usually brings. While I’ve got my doubts that a network of these skywhales is the answer to greening the suburbs (slow speeds, helium shortages, expense, wind) I think these designs at least are pushing the idea of modernized lighter […]

Gristleism. December.

Oh man, old man Veer is gonna be livid when he sees I scooped him on this but this is too good not to share immediately: there’s a Throbbing Gristle version of the Buddha Machine on its way.  It’s called Gristleism Yes, that’s right.  Gristly loops of audio-gnashing goodness will be emitted from handheld devices across the land come December when this new iteration of the Buddha Machine drops with more loops and a wider range of pitches than the original versions. Now, I had plans to hook my iPod up to a homemade ring mod wired into a mic outside and pipe it all through some pliers-prepared dollar store speakers to get my dissonance fix but now there’s a handy consumer device to wipe the sinful bland audio of the world around me from my brainpan.  About.  Bloody.  Time. The website for the thing looks like they have a […]

Manners are the Weapon

Last week’s pop science debut of the remains of the early hominid species Ardipithecus ramidus was notable for a variety of reason’s, not the least of which was the secrecy and slow, careful approach of the scientists involved, so different from the half-baked, chuck out speculation for the slavering masses approach of so much of what crops up in my internet drain trap.  I particularly liked Carl Zimmer‘s summary of the findings, with this paragraph catching my eye: White and his colleagues  found so many teeth of different Ardipithecus individuals that they could compare male and female canines with some confidence. The male teeth turn out to be surprisingly blunted. This result suggests that hominids shifted away from a typical ape social structure early in our ancestry. If this was a result of males forming long-term bonds with females and helping raise young, this shift was able to occur while […]