Trappist 1 was found last week, but you can visit the website now

Tuesday, 28 February, 2017

Trappist 1 poster, by NASA

Well that was quick. Within days of NASA revealing that Trappist 1, an ultra cool dwarf star thirty-nine light years from the Sun, was found to be hosting seven earth-like planets, the star, and its solar system, already has a website.

No sign – yet anyway – of a social media presence though. I expect someone will soon point out to the powers that be of the Trappist 1 system, that this is detrimental to their brand, and inhibits engagement between them and their clients.

Clients? Sure, that would be anyone who intends to colonise the Trappist 1 planets. There’s also – already – some short stories inspired by the system, and a nice collection of posters. I’m impressed, this is a lot of work in a short amount of time.

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All sorts of small ideas and innovations that are likely taken for granted

Monday, 20 February, 2017

Avocado, with label

Where would we be without BuzzFeed, and their enticing, clickbait titled, listicles? How else would we know about the existence of these sorts of things?

Colour coded shopping baskets, that let the sales staff at a store know whether you need help or not. A credit card tip jar that allows you leave one dollar gratuities. Elevators with buttons near the floor, in case your hands are full.

Or, microwave ovens with mute buttons, so you won’t wake anyone when fixing a midnight snack. Or stickers that indicate how ripe an avocado is, according to its colour, as pictured above.

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You haven’t seen Rogue One until you’ve seen it in the original 8-Bit

Thursday, 2 February, 2017

An eight-bit rendering of Rogue One, that imagines the Star Wars anthology series film as an arcade game. Directed by Norwood Cheek, and animated by Dilara Mundy.

Be warned, contains SPOILERS, of sorts.

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For Australia Day, a new, new, five dollar note, by Aaron Tyler

Thursday, 26 January, 2017

Australian $5 note. Design by Aaron Tyler

Since it’s a holiday here, for some of us at least, I’ll make this fast. Last September, the Reserve Bank of Australia unveiled a new look five dollar note. Long story short, reactions were mixed.

Australian $10 note. Design by Aaron Tyler

Accordingly, Melbourne based creative Aaron Tyler decided to try his hand at banknote design, and what you see at the top was the result.

Australian $20 note. Design by Aaron Tyler

Interestingly though, this is an update to concepts he created for all five Australian banknotes currently in circulation, in 2015, that he titled “Straya Cash”.

Australian $50 note. Design by Aaron Tyler

Given many Australians don’t recognise the historical figures on today’s notes, Tyler’s designs include slightly more contemporary cultural icons, and personalities, such as lamingtons, utes, red-back spiders, Lara Bingle, and Shane Warne.

What do you think? Oh, and Happy Australia Day.

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Star Wars Downunder, a fan made film by Michael Cox

Thursday, 12 January, 2017

It’s a fan made film, so I know you sometimes need to be in the right place, at the right time, to hear about these sorts of things, but I’m still not sure how I missed Star Wars Downunder. Made by filmmaker Michael Cox in 2013, “Downunder” brings a distinctly Australian taste, in the form of beer no less, to the popular sci-fi saga.

See the full film here, 30 minutes in length, or take a look at the trailer for a preview.

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Visual representations of spoken words, that’s greentings

Wednesday, 28 September, 2016

Artwork by Jenny Green

Birmingham based designer and creative Jenny Green’s greentings project is a visual representation of well known, day to day, expressions. The trick, when you go the greentings Instagram page, is to guess what the image means before you click on it, to see the title. A fun idea, if ever there were one. See more of her work on Behance.

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Abridged classics, uh-oh, spoilers ahead

Friday, 9 September, 2016

Illustration by John Atkinson

Ottawa based cartoonist John Atkinson’s illustration series succinctly breaks down the plots of classic novels, into a short sentence. How handy.

How about Mansfield Park, by Jane Austen? I’ve had difficulty picking it up again since Sir Thomas returned from Antigua, and spoiled everyone’s fun.

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Think your job is tough? Try being a human skateboard for a day

Monday, 5 September, 2016

Being a human skateboard. That’s got to be a tough gig. Take a look, and see what I mean.

This is in fact an advert, dating from 2007 – that I’ve only seen for the first time now, I think – made by PES, a film production company that specialises in stop motion work.

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Rock music during the time of the Star War’s Galactic Empire

Thursday, 18 August, 2016

Rolling Stone album cover, artwork by Superfi

What if planet Earth had become part of the Star Wars Galactic Empire? What would be the impact on our day to day lives? Would we be better off, or worse, that we are now?

ABBA album cover, artwork by Superfi

And what about the arts? And music? How would being an actual part of the Star Wars universe, have influenced our favourite musicians? This is the way Superfi thinks it may have been

Sex Pistols album cover, artwork by Superfi

(Thanks Erastus)

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Are aliens trying to extinguish a star so we can’t see them?

Thursday, 11 August, 2016

Tabby’s Star, or KIC 8462852, to use its Kepler Input Catalog title, has been making headlines in recent months, on account of mysterious fluctuations in its brightness. Explanations have varied. Some astronomers think a swarm of comets orbit the star, dimming its light.

Others have suggested a Dyson Sphere, a large, artificial, structure that harnesses a star’s energy, may be present. Something that would point to the presence of extraterrestrial life. Further recent research into the star’s unusual behaviour, concludes that yes, the star is acting strangely, but still no reason is forthcoming.

Michael Byrne, writing for Motherboard, may have stumbled upon the answer, though. An alien intelligence is, you see, trying to extinguish the star:

Knowing that aliens are succeeding in quenching KIC 8462852 at a rate of approximately .34 percent per year, we have to ask why they are shutting down a primary energy source. The obvious answer is that they’ve realized that we Earthlings are on to them and are reentering this dimension via a sort of astroengineered “death star” portal-vessel to deal with the perceived threat (us!), but given that KIC 12557548’s distance from Earth is over 2,000 light-years, we have to ask how they would even know? How aliens determined that they were being observed by humans before humans even had telescopes or cars will without a doubt be the astrophysical mystery of the coming decades.

Remember, you heard it here first.

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