Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Test Flight Testing Budgets

I was browsing around to see what was going on in the world and I found an ariticle about the $445m 6-minute test flight for a new NASA rocket. ( As a lot of my friends know, I am a bit of a physics nerd. I love calculations and inventions and new ideas that could change the world but....

I have to stop and think for a minute. We spent $445 MILLION DOLLARS on a flight to test a new passanger space rocket during the recession we are in. I am the first person to tell you I love new tech, I just wonder if it is coming at a good time. People are always very apt in times of crisis to blame technology. I would hate to see the space program come under fire just because they are trying to experiment with newer faster programs.

I also wonder what they $445m could have been used for. 90% of that cost probably went into all those sensors that will take years to decode and analyze. After that they will most likely pay another $445m + on a new rocket.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Some of my Design Research for Project 2

So I have been doing some research on what has been done about positive eating/self-image and there is a ton.
One of my favorites is this commercial : There are quite a few like this so, it's not a super original idea I guess. I really how theyies. play with dual realities.

I also began by researching retouching models ect, which you can find on my creative caffeine.

There are hundreds of sites that advocate eating disorder awareness *just a few sites*: (They have a store but, it is just logos and text with their slogans)

All of these share the same things, they are all about awareness and having eating almost in a negative way. There are very few places I know that have a positive message about eating ( and their "Go Slow" like what was featured in the Pioneer's of Change in New York.

That's where I got my idea: promote good eating, not the negative side. Proper eating habits are not taught anymore because of the rush of business ect. School lunches used to be like an hour and now they are only 20 minutes. Everything is a rush.

So I decided to make a "tablecloth bag" dining set.
I could not find any specific "bag into tablecloth or blanket" that is commerically made. I know there have been blanket bags before though.
A lot of the design was inspired by Mio's Organic Hammock ( for Target. It is very sustainable however, there is a bag attached that it goes into. I wanted it to fold up INTO the bag itself.

The text the imagery I want to be very simple and basic. I used to research the different languages and from what I can see they are pretty on.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Murder Trial

I sometimes visit Al Jazeera News to see what they have going on. They generally have some pretty interesting articles (Even if most focus on terrorism). Today, they have the follow up article to the stabbing of an Egyptian woman at a trial by a Russian man ( At the time the women was 3 months pregnant with her second child.

To make a long story short this guy came into court 200 days into a trial and stabbed this women. Al Jazeera has nicknamed her the "veil martyr" stating the defendant Alex W. stabbed her out of hatred for her being from a different culture. I find this quite funny seeing as he stated this as his reason yet he is a Russian-born man living in Germany. If he was doing this for the love of the mother country to keep out the impure races then why is he there even? He is not German, he has not right to stab people because they are not German.

I think it comes down to the fact he is a racist against the Muslim culture. It had nothing to do with her being Egyptian. It was the fact she was wearing the veil and clothing of a proper Muslim women. The media creates a fear and hatred of the Muslim Culture which was been present in Europe and Asia since before the Middle Ages. It has nothing really to do with her nationality or even her culture. It is an inbred hatred for the unknown.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Xerox Business in Decline

Today the New York Times reports the Xerox company is still losing business. They set this up to be two different social problems: the recession in America and a fear of new technology. Xerox in the last few years has tried to steer their business from the typical printers to full office solutions. They say companies in this economy are timid to try new things. I think that is not recession-related. I see people come in all the time trying new tech they are unfamiliar with. I think the problem here is branding. People know them for only one thing. It they want to increase business they need to change they brand image. If people know them as something other then a printer company I'm sure they will have better luck in business.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Do Good Design Reading Summary

Main Points About Designing and Designers from Do Good Design:
- Just like Spiderman, with great power comes great responsibility: We as designers have a responsibility to our public with what we create. We have to take responsibility for the consequences of our designs.
- Not just about the design anymore but, about the ethics around the message you produce. You as a designer have a responsibility for the public you design for.
- "Imagine: what if we didn't just do good design...we did good?" motto for design
- The messages we put out will affect the generations to come.
- "It takes a village to raise a child. I would say that it takes a society to raise a generation."
- Watch the claims you make as a Designer!
- Example: Drink Milk, Enjoy Life. Does that mean if you don't drink milk you in turn do not enjoy life? What the message you send to people.
-Think how people are going to interact with your design
- Example: 2000 Election with the poor designed ballot. What if Bush was not elected President? What would have taken place or not have taken place?
- We as a culture are plagued with overconsumption which is driven by bad media
- "It is unfortunate that the culture that was the most influential of the 20th century also happens to be the world's most environmentally unsustainable."
- Media is everywhere you look and you are constantly bombarded with messages to buy and consume.
- The brands from the U.S. market their products outside of the U.S. when the marketing fails to work here.
- In cultures where negative health effects of products are not as well known, the products are more heavily marketed.
- Brand loyalty is a very powerful idea, it can sway a consumer.
- "Designers are at the core of the most efficient, most destructive patter of deception in human history."
- Example: Nike swooshes on everything now. Coke logo on billboards in Africa where people buy Coca-Cola instead of anti-malaria pills.
-Branding is everywhere you look now.
- Presidential-election speeches then and now. Used to be in Memorial Coliseum now, in Pepsi Center and INVESCO Field.
-Places are now trying to counteract overmediazation of society.
- No billboards in Vermont and Sao Pablo
-" Be careful what you create." Not only are you responsible but, it can have dire consequences.
-"[R]ather then sharing our cycles of style, consumption and chemical addictions, designers can use their professional power, persuasive skills, and wisdom to help distribute ideas that the world really needs: health information, conflict resolution, tolerance, technology, freedom of the press, freedom of speech, human rights, well as share the antidote for the buying and spending virus for which all have not yet built up resistance."
-Sexuality and women have been used in marketing for years.
- The old adage "Sex sells" still stands in today's marketing strategies.
- Is it our responsibility to change the world? The change starts locally and move globally. The best way to effect change is to start at home and move outward slowly with positive messages.

Balloon Hoax

Okay after reading the article from Worldpress today about the balloon hoax ( I feel sufficiently informed to weigh in.

I first heard about this in the break room of my work on Friday afternoon. That is when the mysterious video managed to surface of the couple watching the balloon take-off. From right there it looked extremely fake. If they thought there child was inside a balloon (FILLED WITH HELIUM NOT OXYGEN SO HOW IS HE BREATHING?!?!?!) why were they not trying to get him out? They were just standing there watching the balloon take off. Then, they said that the wife was supposed to have tethered the balloon down and they kids could ride in it. Okay, a little more plausible but still, why would a 6 year old be unattended in a balloon. While it's not hydrogen I'm seeing distaster.

Then, the way in which he called for help- The FAA, The local News, then the police. First off, I understand the FAA, he was in this field and knew that an unidentified object would normally be shot down which would probably not be beneficial for getting his son back. THEN THE NEWS THOUGH? What good would that do you? You need the police in this matter, not the news. Reporters would just complicate things. He claimed it was so they could track the balloon. I think that to be total hogwash.
Even on Wife Swap with the Heene's, Richard seemed a bit crazy if not bipolar (if you haven't seen it check it out on Hulu like I did a few minutes ago, its hilarious in its absuridity) they also have up the ridiculous music video they did of their children signing about how they are not pussies. I find the music video to be the most offensive if you ask me.
They are exploiting their children for more fame. They are failed actors and they are trying to milk the system for that its worth. This is an octomom event all over again. I pray to god they don't get a reality t.v. deal out of this.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Droog and the Cooper Hewitt

So to begin with, I decied to go to Droog's website. I have to say they have a lot of unique (and pricey!) designs. A lot of them to me were very decorative and unnecessary which was kind of upsetting after hearing so much about them. But, once I got over that, I discovered their "Straps". Okay, thats clearly awesome! They are these simple, giant rubber bands that you can use to hold things against a wall. It is so simple and clean and takes away those giant, clunky, hard or particle board shelving units you get from IKEA (and you could definantly make them yourself out of old bungie cords). There was also the tree bench ( by Jurgen Bey. That is something I would personally want in my house. I have always loved going camping and sitting on logs around a campfire. It seems like a wonderful (and sustainable if the trees have already fallen) idea.

From there, I went to the Cooper Hewitt site which sent me to the Design for a Living World main page ( The stuff there is just awesome. They have this Bamboo furniture that seems pretty sustainable. Basically, it uses steel rods (for the heavy load bearing furniture) and cut circles of bamboo as the main coverage instead of cloth. They even have a t.v. stand made out of a thick bamboo pole. I like the larger upper supports, but the chair I think could have been designed completely out of bamboo so that the wood did not look like just an addition to the rest of the design. Cloth is sustainable too they could have made a cotton and bamboo chair to the same effect as the other steel and bamboo and if the bamboo is thick enough like that one the cut to make the rings of the chair it would be very sturdy.

I also really like the cocoa maker. It is a metal shaft that you take this huge chunk on natural cocoa out this burlap case and scrap some of the cocoa into a cup with hot water. It then turns into a stirrer for the cocoa. It seems like its pretty well design and the graphic on the pouch and handle of the stirrer are very clean, neat graphics. I like how this site goes into the details and tells you all about how it was made and the cultural motives surrounding every piece. Everything was made to be sustainable and to carry a social message about the area it was designed for.

The Pioneers of Change/Dutch Design was very interesting too. There was so much there it is hard to list so I will quote NY400 here:

"Repairing instead of recycling, knitting a carpet with six foot long needles using wool from three kinds of Dutch sheep, elderly people slowly but attentively serving meals with smaller portions of foods from far away places and larger portions of those from nearby gardens, Dutch fashion designers collaborating with New York masters specialized in beads and lace together with students from Parsons The New School for Design, designers digging in local grounds to reveal differences in color and texture, movies about urban farming focused on New York, and left-over building materials collected over a month in New York available for creative re-use."

Everything was about living life and taking it slow, making life sustainable for the future. It seemed like a great event and I am sad to have missed that opportunity. The Slow Lab seemed the most interesting ( of the Pioneers of Change. I loved how it was about patience. That is something I don't see much in people anymore. I like the idea of being able to sit down and eat and being able to take your time and talk. It just seems like a nice change of the busy pace of day to day activities.

Nazi Gnomes

I don't know whether to find this funny or to take offense to it. In the New Zealand Herold ( ran a story about 1250 Nazi satire gnomes running in a display in German. One thing I didn't know was you are not allowed to display Nazi symbols in German. I am sure this is to keep the peace, but nevertheless it's an interesting fact.

The goverment of German is allowing the Army of Nazi Gnomes to be displayed because it is clearly a satire. I think its funny that you can't display nazi images but you can make fun of them. Isn't someone who is going to display nazi images gonna see the wrong message in these gnomes? I don't think there is a totally clear message in them. Plus, 20 are painted gold of the 1250 and the rest are black. I wonder if the 20 have any significance. The article wasnt very specific.

I guess this is just very odd to me. I have never been one for installations. They are neat and all but, I just lack a point in them I guess.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Jaime Salm: "Why I Love Design"

Last Thursday I was given the opportunity to talk to Jaime Salm and attend a lecture he was giving on Sustainable Design and Mio Culture. To start off Jaime Salm is an amazing man. His ideas are so inventive and fresh and brings up great challenges to the idea of sustainable design and solves with them great resolve!

Prior to the lecture I was working in 2006 on my pop-up lighting project for my Jewelry 1 class and I was trying to figure out how to make my design actually work as a lighting figure. It was very complex with a lot of cut-out shapes. Jaime suggested that I think of this project not just as a project for school but as a project of how to take a material that is eco-friendly and make it sustainable eliminating waste. He said in anything you design you should minimize if not eliminate waste from the design. I had not thought of this prior to talking to him but it is a great idea. Everything we make should be sustainable no matter what the project. That gave me the idea of changing the design so that the cut outs would function as different aspects of the light. Basically making the large cut out the stage for the light and the smaller cut-outs as pegs to hold the peice together or something of the sort. I had never thought of taking a project from school farther into the design process then "a project for school".

This led directly into what he was talking about in his lecture. Salm began his lecture with the introduction of his college thesis: Fibrid. Basically, he took pulp which is a rather ugly material and made it into stools. He was trying to make people rethink the idea of waste. He took three ideas into his design process:
"Extreme Users" --> use things in new/unique ways, how college students repurpose objects to fit their unique dorm room needs
"Extreme Technology" --> repurposing industrial technology to fit a new design need
"Extreme Materials" --> Turning waste into beauty
I like how he made everything into the extremes and took those extremes to create his thesis.
He then went into how his thesis turned into his career taking money he got from a consultation job making pulp signs for a company and put it all into the creation of Mio.

He said at one point that "an academic endeavor made Mio and a philosophical mindset drives it" everything about Mio is about making life sustainable. Jaime seemed focused on "designing your life" which is basically making a space around you to design and making your space sustainable. Sustainability seems to be the driving force in everything he designs or creates. Also, there seems to be a very complex work process. For every creation that comes out of Mio, hundreds if not thousands of "frankenstien models" (as he calls them) are produced. For the bendant lamp over 20 models were made to just get the design and that does not include the probably hundreds of paper models he made beforehand. He had a slogan which he had told to me while we were talking about my design and that is "test everything!". If you don't know how it is going to work you can't put it into action. So basically, the most important step in the process is to design and test everything you create before you make the final version.

He had a few principles that Mio is based off of that seem to drive his company that he brought up continually with everything he created. First off, waste = raw material. Anything that is waste can be repurposed into a new material for a new purpose. There is "no such thing as waste" to Mio. He also seemed to bring up that "users define sucess". You could have the best product in the world but in the end it is up to the user to define whether it is a success or a failure. Jaime also stressed that it is important to streamline the process. "Make it simple, Make is afforadable" was his motto. Make the best product that you can but, don't waste time doing it. Don't make the process so tedious that the end product is too expensive or too labour intensive to create. He says he is at a constant struggle of "Money vs. Idea". If users define success then you have to make it affordable for the user. In the end the user is the one that will be using/buying this product and it has to be something that will want to buy and use.

He is also leading the forefront for where design is going with "user-centric design". Basically, making products that the user defines what the end product will look like. I think this is huge. Everyone wants something different so why not let that person define what the end product looks like? I really want to incorporate this into my future products. He is also now very into "active sustainability" which is "a product that generates a positive and quantifiable environmental impact every time it is used". This takes the sustainability farther. It doesn't just have to be sustainable when it is made but sustainable for the life of the product.

I highly enjoyed this lecture and I think I will take a lot out of it in the future. I have been trying to think how to make my project 2 sustainable and my pop-up lighting have virtually no-waste. These principles I think are quite important to the future of design. I also want to start getting into user-centric design because I really think it has a lot of possibilities. I think that if users are allowed to interact with the design it will make the message all the more powerful and the object all the more enjoyable.

Creative Caffiene Project 2

Some of the images I collected as part of my Project 2 creative caffeine. I tried to research how much retouching is actually done in photographs for print campaigns because I am trying to do a print campaign about "true beauty" for my project 2. So without further delay here are some of the more impressive images:

Trading Missiles

To begin with I apologize for any major typing errors seeing as this is being typed on an ipod touch currently. Anyway moving on...I went onto in my free time this morning to see what was currently happening in the world. And, really not surprising, there was a list of the current bombings over the weekend. What really made me laugh was the way things were reported. The Khaleej Times (check them out if you haven't they have a very interesting point of view) reported of a Pakistani Bombing a Taliban settlement. The way it was written was actually quite neutral.

What made me almost laugh was on worldpress directly under it was "Taliban Bomb Pakinstani Marketplace, 41 women and children dead" from the New York Times. Okay people, we need a reality check. If you bomb a Taliban "settlement" you are killing women and children too. Over 31 men, women and children were killed in the Pakistani bombing of the Taliban villiage. I am not saying the Taliban are something good to be praised; however, there needs to be equal covereage. War goes both ways you can't pin murdering women and children just on one side. When American was in Afganistan hundreds of women and children were killed in raids, but all we hear/heard was roadside bombs killing U.S. soldiers.

When America can report both sides unbiased we might make progress. It makes no sense to create hate. Why can't we just report what happened they way it is not the way we want it to be?

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Missing Blog Post from Project 1

Going back through my project 1 posts I noticed I missed the post of the list of activities and events that I saw on my day walking around of possible social issues. So, here is a typed copy of that list:

1. Traffic
a. people not carpooling
b. inconsiderate weaving in and out of lanes
c. gas consumption waiting in traffic
2. Students texting in class
a. wasting tuition money
b. disrespect to teachers
3. Isolation
a. ipods
4.Food Waste in the Dining Hall
a. easier to get snacks and fast food then hot meals
6.Towson not pedestrian-friendly outside of campus
a. can never use the mirror girls always around it
b.crowded sinks
8. Trash on the field where we practice
a. people not be responsible for their environment
9. Girls growing up too fast
a. Hannah Montana and Jonas Brothers shirts
b. little girls wearing makeup
10. glorifying crime
a. late night crime dramas
b. violent videogames

Women more likely to be hit by Cars?

I was reading an article on the BBC that I could not really fathom as being true. It was talking about how women are more likely to be hit by lorries in the UK.

I honestly don't buy their reasoning for this, however, it did get me to thinking about the way women's bikes are made. They think it is why so many women get hit and killed on them. I always wondered by male bikes have that bar that come up in the middle that would seem to be very uncomfortable if you hit a bump where as women's bikes sit lower in a more comfortable way. It seems like a very poor design.

Plus, I think what this article needs to research is the proportion of women to men that ride bicycles. It could be that more women are killed because there is significantly more women on bikes in the UK. I don't think this article is fully researched and to me has an undercurrent of sexism disguised loosely with facts.

EU Treaty

So, I like to see what's going in the rest of the world. It seems the European Union Lisbon Treaty might be passed soon according to the Germany Times It amazes me that in 2009, almost 2010, we are still sorting out land in the aftermath of World War II. I know there is too much greed and the struggle for power in the world for people to be able to agree but this is one more step towards peace, or a temporary peace. I think that there would be a lot less trouble in the world if there was not this imperialistic attitude for land between nations. If we could all just be happy with what we have and not be so consumed with what we want the world would be a much better place.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Swine Flu Blog from Last Week

Apparently one of my blogs did not post last week, so I am going to repost it.

So, I have been very curious how the rest of the world is treating the swine flu pandemic (and yes folks like it or not its a pandemic). I wanted to see if it was just the U.S. media causing a stir or whether the hysteria had reached the other side of the world as well. I went to and I found an article about a women who was diagnosed with swine flu in vietnam (and died from it later that week)

Honestly, they were just as bad as we are. Do you know that 3600 healthy Americans die every year of the regular flu? The swine flu is slightly more deadly with the chance of the secondary infection in your respiratory system. I think the world needs to take a chill pill. Many scientists have said "its not if the next pandemic is coming but WHEN it will hit". We are due for another pandemic and we can't put off the inevitable. People are going to die. Most don't know that pandemics are generally caused by overpopulation as natures way of culling off some of the herd. People just can't accept that one day their time will come. We can't live forever and we are not made to. Sooner or later our number will be up and we have to accept it. If my number is up this year due to swine flu then so be it. Its life people chill out!