All posts for the month April, 2007

The sensational PopTech Conference I attended last October just launched their new PopCasts website with several of their amazing lectures from the 2006 event.

The above MUST watch video is an astonishing and inspirational highlight from the 2005 conference of Jesse Sullivan & Todd Kuiken presenting the world’s first non-fictional bionic man maneuvers of his prosthetic arm using only his mind. (Don’t ignore me…watch it!)

Watch the rest of the captivating videos after the jump!
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joshua bell

“Can one of the nation’s great musicians cut through the fog of a D.C. rush hour?”

Here’s an astonishing experimental story that questions talent, location, knowledge, culture, perception, a bit of marketing, and displacement. What happens when you take a world famous musician, Joshua Bell, and put him in the morning DC metro posing as a street performer seeking extra change? Do people stop and listen, do strangers acknowledge his talent, does a crowd form in awe, does he cash in, does talent simply pass by ones ears because of his environment, or are people too busy to stop and listen?

Read this incredible experiment after the jump along with videos. (mirrored from

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milan obika

After arriving to Milan (or Milano as they say here) 4 hours later than expected, I trekked around quickly by foot then stumbled upon “Obika: the Mozzarella bar” which my friend Yasmina mentioned since I told her my love of mozzarella in Italy so far. We really had no idea where to eat since our meeting was so sporadic but it was pretty late on a monday night when everything seemed to be closed, and we were in the neighborhood craving to eat, so we went here…which turned out to be an amazing simple choice.

more pics after the jump…

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manufactured landscapes movie

Manufactured Landscapes is a stunning must watch documentary film created by legendary photographer Edward Burtynsky and award winning director Jennifer Baichwal that has received several awards this past year. The film visually captures China’s massive industrial revolution through Edwards camera while questioning our own human endeavors in impacting the planets future global proliferation, destruction, and waste.

I was not aware of this film until recently while talking with Edward at TED about his amazing slide show he gave at Poptech which previewed images used in this film. I missed the film when it was in theaters, but the DVD’s are available which I’d highly encourage everyone to buy (or the book) and share. (it’s a bit odd thinking about the movies message on massive product waste while using the exact same substance to distribute this film)

As an industrial designer I’ve been greatly influenced by the huge message Al Gore gave in Inconvenient Truth (meeting him pushed me as well) while also advocating Alex Steffan of‘s message that “your either in, or your wrong”. I’m stuck in a field where products and massive sales are king, yet the sustainable need for global changes is so uneducated in a cost driven but not globally aware or active field if not society. I’m not saying change is not happening, but time is not something you can pause… this change must happen, not sooner, but now. Perhaps I feel more like architect and famous product designer Philippe Starck when he was onstage at TED and said “I believe in general that my job is absolutely useless; but now, after Carolyn(Porco) and these guys, I feel like shit”.

Anyhoots, before I get ya’ll stuck in my own dilemma, give the trailer to Manufactured Landscapes a view and perhaps question your own actions in your own field, home, and surroundings and get motivated for some simple changes like recycling, changing to longer lasting light bulbs, or even reusing your CD spindles.

Trailer Preview
Manufactured Landscapes website

black gold movie trailer

Thinking about coffee after watching Bryant Simon dissect the Starbucks Brand Experience brings me to a somewhat disturbing but enlightning documentry film that reader Tomas has brought to my attention: Black Gold.

“Multinational coffee companies now rule our shopping malls and supermarkets and dominate the industry worth over $80 billion, making coffee the most valuable trading commodity in the world after oil.

But while we continue to pay for our lattes and cappuccinos, the price paid to coffee farmers remains so low that many have been forced to abandon their coffee fields.”

Watch the Youtube Trailer above or read more about this documentry on their website “” or on PBS here where you can find the TV schedule (airing in the Boston in April).(Would be nice if it were on Joost which I just received my invite to today 😉 ) The PBS site also has a listing of troubling facts about certain companies to keep in mind the next time you buy yourself a cup of joe.

Here’s a wonderful and intriguing lecture during last years TASTE3 (wine, food, art) conference by Bryant Simon deconstructing the Starbucks brand experience. A great watch for any of ya’ll caffeine craving Starbucks addicts.

“Bryant Simon is professor of history and director of the American Studies program at Temple University in Philadelphia. Over the last year and half, he has visited over 300 Starbucks in eight countries and is currently working on a book to be published by Bloomsbury. This is not, however, just a study of Starbucks, but an exploration of American life both in the states and abroad in the 21st Century. His research explores the very desires of daily life as they are revealed on the comfy coaches and in the drive-thru of Starbucks. As he looks at what it means to consume Starbucks, he also investigates what Starbucks consumes of us – our labor, our landscapes, and our politics.”

via TASTE3

The must watch 2007 TED Prize talks are up! Above I’ve posted the powerful and captivating lecture by James Nachtwey that I urge all to watch, but be prepared for an emotionally disturbing yet moving photo journey.(I’d highly recommend watching this in full-screen or high definition 480p here) I’ve also posted the video lectures by Bill Clinton and E.O. Wilson who were also 2007 TED Prize winners after the jump. I’ll include the amazing bonus images taken in a secret location during each wish announcement.

via TED blog

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Florence landscape
Florence rustic painted chairs
Florence signage

Florence was a bit cloudy and rainy the few days I managed to sneak out of the office, but I caught a glimpse of the surrounding area including the many restaurant I’ve been posting about. Besides my complaints of tourists ruining the magical escape known as Florence I absorbed a great deal of culture and lifestyle rummaging around in the morning markets, late night bars, and street crowded corners. Food is fantastic and fresh though shady in some populated areas beaming with english menus.(if it has english words, it probably isn’t authentic italian) The ceramic landscape is breath-taking minus the touristy attractions and street dwelling purse sellers. Advertisements also known as expensive graffiti cascades over historical building and streetscapes in bothersome ways, but I guess money can buy many unsightly needs. The lifestyle of people breath fashion and simplicity yet seems complex in an unorganized chaotic way. They like to play it by ear and go by tradition rather than by new means and modern technologies. People are kind, friendly, and hospitable. They are proud of their culture, food, language, and love to share this knowledge.

My journey around the city was brief but meaningful and delightful. I’d rather visit when it’s sunny, but I’ll be back in June when more tourists are lurking and blossoming gardens fill the summer sun. Besides all the great restaurants, I took several pictures here and there. I don’t really have a story to tell about the city, so enjoy the many pictures I’ve posted, with brief thoughts after the jump.
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Florence I Due G Wine and Biscotti

After a few days of unsuccessful restaurant choices we went back to our reliable resource that first introduced us to the fantastico “I Due G” and asked for another find. This time the long words “Vini E Vecchi Sapori Osteria” were given, and upon a simple google maps search we were there.

Vini E, as I now call it, is a cozy 5 table space with high rustic wood-beamed ceilings, brick floors, one waiter, and a visual aroma for what was to come. This place seemed authentic, real, warm, and truly Italian with no need or care for tourists even though cradled near the populated Piazza della Signoria. The environment was stacked high in wine bottles and oils along with hollywood like beacon lights blistering the wooden fan ceilings. Our first sign of an authentic meal glimpsed at the daily hand-written menu which had no english besides the words “no pizza, no ice”. That was a good thing because our attempts at pizza in Italy proved poorly thus far.

More pics after the jump…
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