(waves, says hello, disappears again)
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The last few weeks have been extremely busy, and there's been no real time to post here on BLDGBLOG; so many interesting stories have come and gone, so many ideas to discuss and write about here, but I've primarily been working full-throttle in my new role as Editor-in-Chief of Gizmodo, where I've joined an amazing team tasked with continuing the site's transition away from pure tech news and gadget reviews to include the worlds of architecture, urbanism, and design.
Gizmodo, of course, has always had an expansive view on technology's role in popular culture, so this is more of a shift in emphasis than a wholesale change in direction. But what I'm most interested in exploring there are technology's spatial implications, of which architectural structures are only one example, whether it's mechanized landscapes or inhabitable machines, infrastructures or megastructures, materials science or immaterial new electromagnetic sensors used by police (and the vernacular techniques for evading them). Any sufficiently large technology is indistinguishable from a landscape, we might say; any sufficiently ubiquitous machine indistinguishable from a city.
[Image: Inside a wind tunnel, courtesy of NASA, via Gizmodo].
In any case, I will be very busy for the foreseeable future in my new role—but we've published some really fantastic features there over the past few weeks alone, and I thought I'd throw up a quick post to give BLDGBLOG readers a taste of what's to come. Here's a solid list for a long day's perusal:
—Gizmodo was part of the first media tour since the 1980s of Hart Island, the largest mass grave site in the United States, run by the Department of Corrections on the outer maritime edge of New York City.[Image: Bertha, a tunneling jaeger, undergoes assembly, courtesy of WSDOT, via Gizmodo].
—"Capture houses" are entire decoy apartments and homes—furnished, lit, and run like actual residences—that, in reality, are elaborate traps for capturing burglars.
—The lost cow tunnels of New York City are no longer an urban myth: Nicola Twilley dug up blueprints for Gizmodo.
—The Los Angeles Aqueduct's 100-year anniversary just rolled by and, with it, an historic reenactment of the moment the city's floodgates were opened.
—New Yorkers receive junk mail from the future, thanks to designers Chris Woebken and Elliott P. Montgomery.
—"3D painting" creates working machine parts from directed aerosol layering—in effect, spray-painting objects into existence.
—A South Carolina archaeologist, citing Star Trek: The Next Generation as an influence, has scanned Linear B so that machines can help catalog the ancient past.
—The future of disaster recovery is a constellation of semi-autonomous robots swarming over avalanches and ruined cities to find survivors.
—An incredible "tangible interface" roils like the surface of a mechanical sea, reproducing any object you place within view of its sensors.
—What will Blockbuster do with all those empty stores now that the company is shuttering them?
—We were on hand to see "Bertha," the largest-diameter tunneling machine in the world, start spinning its way into the underworld of Seattle.
—Norway has buried so many bodies using large plastic bags that the country is running out of cemetery space; the bodies can't rot.Enjoy! Meanwhile, I'll see you on the internet, here, there, and elsewhere, though the frequency of posting here will now be closer to just 2 or 3 times a month.
—Matt Novak on the "best psychic scam of all time."
—Gizmodo got an epic introduction to the distillation of bourbon at Four Roses in Lawrenceburg, Kentucky.
—We got a tour of the extraordinary "bone room" run by the American Museum of Natural History to see literally thousands of dinosaur bones and fossils, stacked amidst basements and turrets on the Upper West Side.
—We learned what life is like on the job of a New York City archaeologist, digging up water mains, old bottles, and the foundation walls of lost prisons.
—Take a look at these chains 3D-printed from ice and igloos algorithmically constructed by architectural robots.
—A man in São Paolo melts down cans he's collected on the streets, then reshapes the metal into handmade chairs.
—Have you seen the fruit fly that evolved to have pictures of ants on its wings, revealing the extremes of dissimulation and camouflage to be found in the animal kingdom?
—This herky-jerky rock-climbing robot from NASA could someday conquer the glaciers, cliffs, caves, and mountains of alien worlds.
—Cheese made from human bacteria, cultivated into tomorrow's sci-fi brie.
—Cold War weapons that terrified U.S. military intelligence.
—New techniques for turning nuclear waste into glass.
—A behind-the-scenes tour of a fantastic old clock tower in New York's Tribeca.
—And another tour of the Brooklyn super-factory producing modules for what will be the tallest prefab tower in the United States, right here in New York City.