For less than a thousand dollars, you can now buy a 3D printer. That's about 124,000 dollars less than they used to cost. Makerbot started putting its DIY printers up for sale last year, and have gotten so many orders that they can no longer keep up with production. So they hired out a bunch of the Makerbots they'd already sold, and had them make more Makerbots. Creepy, and awesome. They send you the kit, you put it together, feed it some plastic, load a 3D file, and the machine will make it while you watch. The makerbot phenomenon has spawned a site, Thingiverse, dedicated to open source 3D files, and a large community who are only beginning to unravel what having a machine like this will mean for the future of manufacturing. Want a new toy for your kids? Print it. Need a new lathe for your workshop? Print it. Want a sculpture of Walt Disney's head for your living room? Print it.

Cory Doctorow is, of course, all over this, and put out a new book last year titled Makers, that takes as its very premise a near future where devices like this are omnipresent. As with all Doctorow books, you can buy it on Amazon, or download the ebook for free from the link above.

Read more on this and the DIY revolution at Wired Magazine.

The Road: A Comedic Translation, and Confessions of a Book Pirate

For anyone who has read Comac McCarthy's The Road, this is a must. Thank goodness for The Millions. Great literary websites like this are nigh extinct now.

Another great article is this one, an interview with an anonymous internet book pirate. I won't get too into it now, as my anti-intellectual-property rant is currently being saved for my senior thesis, but the interview strikes many of the most important points in the issue: people who pirate the most are usually the people most in love with the medium, these people are also willing to pay for nice physical copies of the same works, these sorts people contribute more to the exposure and hence, the sales, of a work than almost any other factor, and in cases where authors and publishing companies have put their works up for free downloading, such as Cory Doctorow and the Baen Free Library, they have actually experienced increases in revenue.


Garance Doré

Wouldn't you know it? The Sartorialist has a French girlfriend, Garance Doré, who is also a fashion photographer and illustrator. Her blog, with much wonderful photography and drawings, is being translated into English here. Worth a look.


Chomet, Tati, and The Illusionist

Sylvain Chomet is the creator and director of Les Triplettes de Belleville, quite possibly the greatest western animated work of the last few decades. His next film, The Illusionist, is slated to be released this February. That is reason for excitement enough. However, the script was written by Jacques Tati, the director and star of the Hulot films, Les Vacances de M. Hulot, Mon Uncle, Playtime, and Trafic. The story takes place in Scotland, and follows an old-school stage entertainer, frustrated by how the rise of modern culture has turned the youth to rock and roll.

A plot like this is pure Tati, and Chomet is the perfect director; both Tati's and Chomet's films have a deep love for the beauty of the cinematic environment, are nearly wordless, and rely on visual gags and quiet, ironic humor for support. Since Tati stared in his own live-action films, it appears the the Illusionist will in fact be an animated version of Tati himself. I cannot express how excited I am about this.


The Invasion of America

Some scans from Time magazine in 1942, mapping out possible routes Germany might take to conquer the U.S. Although logistically ridiculous given the actual situation, the maps have all the great design and typographical sensibilities of the era, along with its wonderfully blunt attitude. What's the first thing the Nazi war machine does upon setting foot on American soil? Reunify with its fifth column legions, naturally. Good times.

The Ptak Science Book website has a host of wonderful snippets from other old books as well, including this book of advice for girls on how to snare a man, and one on date technique so as to "attach him as a permanent decoration."

Unhappy Hipsters

The octopus was full of judgment.

A short collection of clever photos, taken from modern home magazines, and juxtaposed with melancholy, Goreyesque captions. Very funny, mostly because they are so appropriate. Hipsters are a sad lot.

Unhappy Hipsters



A new short from the French animation school Gobelins L'Ecole de L'Image, which has invariably produced amazing shorts over the years. I love the Escheresque cityscape.

Two New Videos

Perfect comic timing, great story. We need more animators like this guy.

In the vein of abstract visualizations of music, this one's another keeper. Music is "Warren" by The Flashbulb.

Thanks to Tommy Welsh for the tip.


Madame Tutli-Putli

A very dark, very creepy shop motion short, by Chris Lavis and Maciek Szczerbowski, gorgeously shot and composed, filled with characters with astoundingly expressive eyes. The sense of weight and movement is superb.

The Vanishing Point

A beautiful piece of abstract video art by Takuya Hosogane. Meticulous and entrancing. The song is “LePetitPrince” by cubesato.

via ISO50



The International Society of Professional Wedding Photographers has the results of their latest photography competition up. Some truly beautiful images here. It's a revelation to some people that wedding photography can be much more than formal poses and heavily staged shots.

ISPWP Fall 2009 Competition


Hey Oscar Wilde...

A huge collection of illustrative interpretations of literary characters and authors have been showing up for years on the awesomely-named blog Hey Oscar Wilde! It's Clobberin' Time!!! Some of my favorite illustrators, such as Jeff Smith and Scott Campbell, are featured, as well as my favorite writers, such as everyone's favorite Russian novelist, Dostoevsky.



Jason Brubaker, an illustrator at Dreamworks, has been showing off his art and graphic novel skills at his blog recently. It includes tips on creating a graphic novel of one's own, and a page-by-page release of his current project, reMIND. Unlike most webcomic artists, this guy can draw, and the story, which features lighthouse operator Sonja and her cat Victuals, is shaping up to be an intriguing read. I especially like the environments. They feel like a place somewhere between a Myst age and the planet Hillys from Beyond Good and Evil.


This Is Where We Live

I'm liking this trend of paper animation...

The Morae River

The Morae River is an invented ecological system devised by Brynn Metheney. Beautifully illustrated, with even the flora and fauna's scientific classifications worked out, this is one of the best examples of non-narrative world building I've seen. Metheney can count on me to buy her book when it comes out.

Metheney's sketchblog

Wes Anderson's Acceptance Speech

Fantastic Mr. Fox? Great movie. Wes Anderson's acceptance speech? Just as awesome.


Fleet Foxes

What a life I lead when the sun breaks free
As a giant torn from the clouds
What a life indeed when that ancient seed
Is a berry watered and plowed

Christopher Alexander

Christopher Alexander is someone I discovered this fall, and whose books I cannot stop reading. The one I've read the most of, "A Pattern Language," is remarkable, revolutionary and entirely beautiful. It deals with, as most of Alexander's books do, the forming of living human environments, from the regional level, to the city, neighborhood, building, house, and room levels. It forced me to rethink how buildings ought to be made, and expressed in clear, methodical language why it is that certain houses and urban environments feel so "right," human, or whole.

His philosophy is deeply refreshing in its careful and disciplined insistence that the flourishing of human life and community ought to be at the very heart of architecture and urban planning. This might seem like a truism, but it is very much contested among modern architects and planners, as can easily be seen from modern architecture. In fact, I was startled at how closely related the ideals set out in A Pattern Language corresponded to the distributive ideal in Catholic circles. Government at a local level, an emphasis on small communities with strong cultures, the necessity of the integration of all ages of life together, the preservation of sacred places, the notion that families ought to grow food and not become alienated from their's all there, not as a utopian dream, but an ideal that can be gradually worked towards. The book is a wonder; almost every chapter (there are some 250 of them) makes one exclaim "Yes! Exactly!" as well as providing insights I'd never heard of.

Perhaps the best way to get a handle on Alexander is to read this debate between himself and Peter Eisenman, a modernist-deconstrictivist, who openly admits that Alexander's theory of architecture infuriates him. Keep in mind, that for the most part it is people like Eisenman who are in charge of providing the theory that underlies most "relevant" architecture done in the western world today.

Alexander: I don't fully follow what you're saying. It never occurred to me that someone could so explicitly reject the core experience of something like Chartres [Cathedral]. It's very interesting to have this conversation. If this weren't a public situation, I'd be tempted to get into this on a psychiatric level. I'm actually quite serious about this. What I'm saying is that I understand how one could be very panicked by these kinds of feelings. Actually, it's been my impression that a large part of the history of modern architecture has been a kind of panicked withdrawal from these kinds of feelings, which have governed the formation of buildings over the last 2000 years or so.

Why that panicked withdrawal occurred, I'm still trying to find out. It's not clear to me. But I've never heard somebody say, until a few moments ago, someone say explicitly: "Yes, I find that stuff freaky. I don't like to deal with feelings. I like to deal with ideas." Then, of course, what follows is very clear. You would like the Palladio building; you would not be particularly happy with Chartres, and so forth. And Mies ... 

Eisenman: The panicked withdrawal of the alienated self was dealt with in Modernism -- which was concerned with the alienation of the self from the collective.

Eisenman repeats several times that architecture's purpose is to express the state of modern man: his alienation, fragmentation, etc. He finds it inappropriate to make architecture that serves man's basic nature, needs, and feelings, because, I suppose, that's just not where the world spirit is right now. It's like listening to Lucifer calmly describing the building code in Hell.

Read samples from Alexander's books below


New Zealand Book Council - Going West

Snip snip snip. This gives me chills.

Create Amazing

It seems I'm on a roll today. Since Catherine seems to be our essayist, I think I may be doomed to the role of "poster of internet oddities." Well, I'll see what I can do to change that, but not today. Today I bring your attention a charming and beautiful advertisement by HP. There is a shorter, more talky ad on Youtube, but the director's cut is also available, and I recommend you watch it first, even if it is a large file. The technique is called tilt-shift photography, which distorts the depth of field in a real scene, making it look like a model. The song, in case you wanted to know, is called "Rescue Song" by Mr Little Jeans.

Create Amazing

Lu Guang - Pollution in China

The results of China's insane rate of industrial expansion have been cataloged recently by Lu Guang, who has been garnering acclaim for his work "Pollution in China". The consequences of treating a nation's populace and environment purely as capital-producing resources are laid out in stark detail.

Images here
and here

Delphic - This Momentary

My fascination with abandoned environments continues unabated, and sparked my interest in this music video, composed of recent footage of Chernobyl and the Russian populace living in the region. Beautiful and haunting.


The Third & The Seventh

This is something to experience. Fullscreen the video, turn down the lights, and turn up the sound.


The Return of Flannery and Chesterton

By popular demand, the audio of Flannery O'Connor and G.K. Chesterton have returned. They can be downloaded from the links below.

Chesterton on Canada
O'Connor on Some Aspects of the Grotesque in Southern Literature
O'Connor reads A Good Man is Hard to Find

The O'Connor audios are also available at Black Market Kidneys, where they can be found as mp3s. Thanks, guys!