Wednesday, August 27, 2008


Friday, August 22, 2008

Definitely view THIS in Full Screen Mode!

U - V - A! GO - 'HOOS - GO!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008


HONG KONG (AP) -- British glam rocker Gary Glitter, who served nearly three years in a Vietnamese prison for molesting children, was denied entry to Hong Kong after refusing to return to England, officials said Wednesday.

Glitter flew to Hong Kong Wednesday night after staying in the transit area of Bangkok's international airport for several hours.

"The Chinese authorities have informed us that they have refused Paul Gadd entry into Hong Kong," a spokeswoman for Britain's Foreign Office said. Glitter's real name is Paul Francis Gadd.

"It's a matter for the Chinese authorities what happens next," she said.

A second Foreign Office spokesman said Glitter was interviewed by Chinese immigrations officials after arriving in Hong Kong.

Glitter was turned away "as a result of those interviews," the spokesman said. Both officials spoke on condition of anonymity, citing official policy.

In a statement, the Hong Kong government said it doesn't comment on individual cases but that immigration officials would "take into consideration all relevant factors and circumstances when processing applications."

The territory was making arrangements for Glitter's departure, and he might be returned to Thailand, according to a Hong Kong official, who also declined to be identified, citing policy. It was the third country to bar Glitter in the last two days.

On Tuesday night, Glitter was taken from his prison cell to a flight out of Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam. He had been booked to change planes in Bangkok en route to London. He refused to board a flight to England, however, complaining of an earache. Thai authorities would not allow him to pass through immigration, leaving him in limbo.

Lt. Gen. Chatchawal Suksomchit, the chief of Thailand's immigration police, said Glitter was denied entry because under Thai immigration laws those convicted of child sex abuse in a foreign country can be barred.

But another officer said his department received a note from Vietnam and Interpol requesting that Glitter not be allowed entry into Thailand. The official spoke on condition of anonymity since he was not authorized to speak to the press.

Col. Voravat Amornvivat of Thailand's Immigration Police division said officials turned Glitter over to the custody of Thai Airways Wednesday afternoon, after he agreed to travel to a third country.

Glitter, 64, was convicted in March 2006 of committing "obscene acts with children." He served two years and nine months of a three-year sentence, which was reduced for good behavior.mThe incidents involved two girls, ages 10 and 11, from the southern coastal city of Vung Tau. The verdict said he had molested the girls repeatedly at his seaside villa in Vung Tau and in nearby hotels.

Although Glitter proclaimed his innocence, he was sentenced to three years in prison. His sentence was reduced by three months for good behavior.

Glitter's fall from grace began in 1997, when he took his computer to a repair shop and an employee there discovered he had downloaded thousands of hardcore pornographic images of children. Two years later, British authorities convicted him of possession of child pornography, and Glitter served half of his four-month jail term.

Glitter hit the front pages of Britain's newspapers Wednesday. In an editorial headlined "Who'd want him?" the conservative Daily Mail said "no country in its right mind would want this pervert at large on its soil."

The news hit as British Home Secretary Jacqui Smith announced a raft of new measures to tighten controls on people convicted of sexual offenses against children. If Glitter ever returned to Britain, he would be met at the airport by police officers and would be placed on a sex offenders registry, which already lists about 30,000 people.

In his 1970s heyday, Glitter performed in glittery jumpsuits, silver platform shoes and bouffant wigs. He sold 18 million records and recorded a string of British top-10 hits. His most successful song, the crowd-pleasing anthem "Rock and Roll (Part 2)," cracked the top 10 in the United States.



Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Of all times to get a ticket, I was pulled over during graduation weekend while heading to pick up my parents at their hotel for dinner. The officer said he was citing me for failing to yield to the car turning across traffic, but listed the offense as "Failure to Stop". We'll see what Mr. Magistrate has to say about all this tomorrow morning...


Facial animation is one of the hardest tasks for a 3d-modeler, probably more difficult than any other kinematic representation, since the human face is so often recognized as a deeply expressive communicator. For example, consider the oddity of the faces featured in the following videos:

Meanwhile, software engineers at Image Metrics (the people behind Grand Theft Auto 1-5) have been working on this issue for several years, and most recently released the results of Emily Project which can be seen in the following video.

The Times of London commented on the video in a recent article:

"Emily - the woman in the above animation - was produced using a new modeling technology that enables the most minute details of a facial expression to be captured and recreated. She is considered to be one of the first animations to have overleapt a long-standing barrier known as 'uncanny valley' - which refers to the perception that animation looks less realistic as it approaches human likeness.

In the past, computer game animators have purposely simplified their creations so that the audience realizes immediately that the figures are not real. Previous methods for animating faces involved putting dots on a face and observing the way the dots move, but Image Metrics analyzes facial movements at the level of individual pixels in a video, meaning that the subtlest variations - such as the way the skin creases around the eyes, can be tracked.

Researchers at a Californian company which makes computer-generated imagery for Hollywood films started by filming an employee talking. They then broke down down the facial movements down into dozens of smaller movements for the appearance of reality.

'Ninety per cent of the work is convincing people that the eyes are real,' Mike Starkenburg, chief operating officer of Image Metrics, said. 'The subtlety of the timing of eye movements is a big one. People also have a natural asymmetry - for instance, in the muscles in the side of their face. Those types of imperfections aren't that significant but they are what makes people look real.'"


Monday, August 18, 2008

What does this teach us? I need to switch coasts and take up competitive bowling. Josh needs to work on his neck muscles and cultivate the chinstrap. And Noel needs to move to Ireland and paint his face on a pumpkin.



Saturday, August 16, 2008

You don't need to speak German to enjoy a good Segway crash. The one at 1:25 is not to be missed.


There seem to be a slew of web-based Photoshop clones that I didn't know about. I don't think ill be switching over anytime soon, but it's a novel idea. I mean, who doesn't hate installing software?

Here are a few to check out:


Some seem to be superior to others. Some require you to register. Some don't.

Not to be left out, Adobe even made their own.

So, I suppose the next question is: when can I start building 3d on the internet? Oh wait, SquareClock is pretty much doing just that.

Though it does have a rendering engine that can raytrace, it's not exactly the robust set of tools that designers might be looking for. Maybe Blender will do it.


Sunday, August 10, 2008

Some amazing photographs from the opening ceremony at the Beijing Olympics. As for the architecture, it really is odd how the Nest and Cube look like renderings. London 2012 has a lot to live up to...


Saturday, August 9, 2008

we architects are certainly guilty of this... so why not celebrate it?



Tuesday, August 5, 2008

"Be warned: what you're about to see, hear and experience should you venture down beyond the break is exceptionally odd. Like, bordering on creepy. It's not so much the machine that's eerie -- after all, it's just a home built image scanning sequencer that uses LDRs to measure grey-scales and trigger MIDI notes from a selected threshold -- it's the audio we're concerned about. We're talking funeral tunes at their finest, which is honestly a bit heavy at this point in the morning. Those who can take it know where to head."

Via engadget.


Monday, August 4, 2008

Aside from the novelty of flying into space, the best thing to come out of the recent debut of Virgin Galactic's "White Knight Two" mothership is the select use of graphics decorating the plane's fuselage and engine. Aeronautics and graphic design seem to have an interesting partnership, perhaps due to the industry's strategic image-making of a technologically forward, modern, sterile and record-breaking method of conveyance. Perhaps Le Corbusier is one of the first to indicate this trend in contrast to that of other industries, depicting airplanes, steamships and massive machinery set against a backdrop of a building industry still dragging its heels through nostaligic, historicist mud. Ironically, the imagery generated by the classical motifs of architecture is described as lending a "safeness" to its inhabitants and visitors, all of whom are dutifully sheltered by the persistence of iconography and orders over time (Doric for solidity, Ionic for whimsy and grace, and Corinthian for supremacy); and yet, the same security is ensured by the state-of-the-art in the shelter provided by field of engineering. As the argument goes, would you want to buy a Ferrari if it looked like a Model T? Perhaps only as a collector's item. And would you buy a Volvo if it used the same roll-cage as a Model T? For the safety of my family, no.

Returning to the White Knight Two, it is interesting to note that its use of decorative graphics are somewhat unique in the lineage of aeronautical ornament in that it seems to conflate advancement with nostalgia, and wisely so, in such a way that grounds its very modern aspiration (being the first passenger vehicle to go into space) with our contemporary notions of air travel. Simply put, its graphics use the history of aeronautics to make its radical modernity seem plausible. Perhaps this indicates that the image of the most modern method of transport (ignoring the Concorde) has its limits of representation. Like the building industry, it too needs a safety blanket. And it's possible that I've become a sucker for nostalgia, but I find the balance they maintain to be oddly beautiful.

Take the "DNA of Flight" graphic, which charts the evolution of aeronautics from early flying "wing" machines (essentially, strapped-on bat wings), to the Wright brothers, to war planes, jet craft, the Lunar Module and now the White Knight. Ok, I get it, evolution. But, wait, this is not normal. Outside of aviation enthusiasm, has ever such a direct and intentional reference history been attached to a "modern" invention, let alone one of the most expensive and sophisticated aeronautic machines ever built? Something is amiss.

Next, take also the masthead graphic depicting a woman, very reminiscent of WWII aircraft nose-art. She is young, oddly erotic, and definitely of the airbrush generation (although I smell many an Adobe filter). Oddly enough, she is a depiction of none other than Richard Branson's mother (his mother!), Eve, after whom the aircraft is named. And she leads us into space. History, in the guise of Eve Branson, leads us into space. A tried and true, safe and tested (by mom?) technology leads us into space. We can forget plane crashes and space shuttles exploding upon re-entry. Our minds skip over the Challenger.

Instead, we think of war boys, Kitty Hawk and da Vinci. And finally, these graphics start to make some sense. Because, let's be honest, if your market niche is the guy that blows $200K on six minutes of weightlessness, 62 miles into orbit (roughly half that of NASA's Space Shuttle Orbiter), the last thing you want him thinking about is a tragedy. Graphics have always been a tool of investment, and here it's the same story. What we might appreciate as graphic designers and architects in the White Knight's beautiful decoration is, in this very high-end market, simply a marketing device.

But does this stop me from liking them? No. Ad does it stop me from telling you that the Shuttle Orbiter's maximum capable sped is 17,321 mph? No. And that's really fast.

Some other fun images:


Saturday, August 2, 2008

...When I stumbled across THIS on the internets.

via Kottke