Tag Archives | Design

NSA Chief’s “Information Dominance Center” Designed To Look Like Star Trek

ifWe are officially living in someone else’s fantasy. The Verge writes:

Foreign Policy describes NSA head Keith Alexander’s data-processing “Information Dominance Center” in Virginia as a high-tech homage to Star Trek.

Alexander reportedly had his operations center redesigned to mimic the Enterprise bridge, “complete with chrome panels, computer stations, a huge TV monitor on the forward wall, and doors that made a ‘whoosh’ sound when they slid open and closed.”

“The Center’s primary function is to enable 24-hour worldwide visualization, planning, and execution of coordinated information operations for the US Army and other federal agencies,” says a paper by designers DBI Architects. “The futuristic Commander’s console gives the illusion that one has boarded a star ship.”

The officials and lawmakers who were apparently treated to presentations at the center, however, seemed duly impressed. “Everybody wanted to sit in the chair at least once to pretend he was Jean-Luc Picard,” says an officer who helped coordinate the visits.

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The Alien Reproduction Vehicle Blueprints Of Mark McCandlish

mark mccandlish

OpenMinds on accomplished aerospace illustrator Mark McCandlish’s efforts to document and expose extraterrestrial flight technologies:

Mark McCandlish says information has been shared with him about an Alien Reproduction Vehicle built by the military using technology that has been back engineered from alien technology.

McCandlish says that in 1988 he and a friend were planning on attending an air show at Norton Air Force Base. McCandlish ended up having to cancel due to a last minute illustration needed by Popular Mechanics. However, his friend went and through a well connected acquaintance, was able to gain entrance to a secured area of the base with a special display for politicians and military personnel with high level security clearances.

In this display were three flying saucers floating above the ground. They made no sound. They made “hopping” maneuvers, and then could shoot straight up at incredible speeds. All while making no sound.

The craft were referred to as Alien Reproduction Vehicles (ARVs), and also had the nickname, the “Flux Liner.” McCandlish says he believes these are part of a secret program that has been around for decades.

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The Ideal Mental Hospital Designed Using LSD

Kiyoshi IzumiVia Motherboard, Brian Anderson explains how groundbreaking architect Kiyoshi Izumi employed LSD trips in order to create a more humane psyche ward:

Kiyoshi Izumi was part of a small, federally-granted team of visionaries tasked with developing a province-wide psychiatric hospital overhaul that addressed the affects that clinical environments had on patients. The trick? Get inside the heads of the mentally ill.

The success of the Saskatchewan Plan hinged on mimicking the psychomimetic experience. He’d have to conjure up not only hallucinations but also delusions and perceptual distortions distinct to psychoses. He’d have to eat acid.

It was a bold move. The insights he gleaned from levelling with patients and their surroundings, if we’re to take his word for it, found Izumi envisioning what’s gone on to be called “the ideal mental hospital”, the first of which was raised in Yorkton, Saskatchewan, in 1965.

To the untrained eye, Izumi’s final building likely appeared decidedly non psychedelic.

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ZXX: A Typeface To Resist Surveillance

zxxAvailable for free download, designer Sang Mun's ZXX fonts are examples of how to elude character-recognizing artificial intelligence in style:
During my service in the Korean military, I worked as special intelligence personnel for the NSA, learning first-hand how to extract information from defense targets. Now, as a designer, I am influenced by these experiences continue the evolution of my own thinking about censorship, surveillance, and a free society. Over the course of a year, I researched and created ZXX, a disruptive typeface that would be unreadable by text scanning software. It takes its name from the Library of Congress’ listing of three-letter codes denoting which language a book is written in. Code “ZXX” is used when there is: “No linguistic content; Not applicable.”
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Ben Falk of Whole Systems Design Talks About Modern Day Homesteading

Permaculture, homesteading, cold climate, and compost-powered heating in the Vermont hills from Olivier Asselin on Vimeo.

Ben Falk, M.A.L.D: Design, Planning, Systems Optimization
Ben developed Whole Systems Design, LLC as a land-based response to biological and cultural extinction and the increasing separation between people and elemental things. Life as a designer, builder, ecologist, tree-tender, and backcountry traveler continually informs Ben’s integrative approach to developing landscapes and buildings. His home landscape and the WSD studio site in Vermont’s Mad River Valley serve as a proving ground for the regenerative land developments featured in the projects of Whole Systems Design. Ben has studied architecture and landscape architecture at the graduate level and holds a master’s degree in land-use planning and design. He has conducted nearly 200 site development consultations across New England and facilitated dozens of courses on permaculture design, property selection, microclimate design, and design for climate change.

Nora Young of CBC Radio: Spark talks with Ben Falk the founder of Whole Systems Design.… Read the rest

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The Architectural-Utopia Desert Commune Of Arcosanti

arcosantiVisionary architect Paolo Soleri died in April at 93. His landmark work is the domed utopian village Arcosanti in Arizona, a communal, hippie-futurist "human laboratory" created in 1970, where hundreds of people still live with the purpose of developing new ways of physically organizing human life. ArchDaily writes:
Paolo Soleri spent a lifetime investigating how architecture, specifically the architecture of the city, could support the countless possibilities of human aspiration. The urban project he founded, Arcosanti, 65 miles north of Phoenix, was described by NEWSWEEK magazine as "the most important urban experiment undertaken in our lifetimes.”
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Artists Recreates Strangers’ Faces From Discarded DNA On NYC’s Streets

You’ve been leaving yourself everywhere. For her ongoing project Stranger Visions, Heather Dewey-Hagborg culls discarded DNA (in the form of cigarette butts, chewed gum, et cetera) from the New York sidewalk and then uses a 3D printer to create sculpture portraits based on the genetic information. A reminder that we may soon need to guard our DNA tightly?

In Stranger Visions artist Heather Dewey-Hagborg creates portrait sculptures from analyses of genetic material collected in public places. Working with the traces strangers unwittingly leave behind, Dewey-Hagborg calls attention to the impulse toward genetic determinism and the potential for a culture of biological surveillance. Designed as an exploratory project based on emerging science, the forecast of Stranger Visions has proved prescient. For an example of DNA phenotyping at work in forensics check out the companiesParabon NanoLabs and Identitas and read about their collaboration with the Toronto police. Also see Mark Shriver’s research at Penn State on predicting faces from DNA.

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The Hidden Geography Of Optical Calibration Targets

The Center for Land Use Interpretation on symbols strewn across the American landscape which make sense only to airborne machines:

There are dozens of aerial photo calibration targets across the USA, curious land-based two-dimensional optical artifacts made mostly in the 1950s and 1960s, and many are still in use, though their history is obscure.

Most of them follow the same form established by the Air Force and NASA. The pattern painted on the targets is sets of parallel and perpendicular bars that function like an eye chart at the optometrist. For aerial photography and satellites, it provides a platform to test, calibrate, and focus aerial cameras traveling at different speeds and altitudes.

Many of these resolution test targets are found in the Mojave desert of California, one of the principal development and test areas for surveillance aircraft. The largest concentration in one place is on the grounds of Edwards Air Force Base, where calibration targets run for 20 miles.

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Do-It-Yourself Animation With Terry Gilliam

Wondering how to make your life a bit more weird? Gilliam explains how to produce strange and wondrous things from household materials on the 1970s how-to series the Do-It-Yourself Animation Show. The rare television show which flips the tables by encouraging engagement, not passive consumption, of media, it was created and curated by British cartooning legend Bob Godfrey, who died this past week. Cartoon Brew explains:
The Do-It-Yourself Animation Show, which made animation accessible to the masses by taking the mystery out of the production process, was vastly influential and inspired an entire generation of kids in England, including Nick Park, who created Wallace & Gromit, and Richard Bazley, an animator on Pocahontas, Hercules, and The Iron Giant.
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Designing A City Impenetrable To Drones

Chapati Mystery lays out plans for the hypothetical Shura City, a place of beauty and atmosphere and freedom of movement, but no fear of U.S. drone strikes:

Drones work by detecting patterns, identifying individuals, and extracting data. I dreamed up Shura City to fight against drones with humanity and community. The city is a “black box” impenetrable to data miners and military-trained individuals but it is not a prison.

It is at best expensive and at worst impossible to build armor that can deflect any American bomb. Shura City instead uses inscrutability as its armor. Its windows are protected by computerized mashrabiyas that blink and recombine into various QR codes to jam leering cameras. Its expansive courtyard is protected by latticework with backlit (by color-changing LED) windows that allow for sunshine for children and stars for young lovers, but also make face detection tricky with color blocks and changing shadows.

Badgirs and minarets do their part to provide wild fluctuations of temperature (so that individual bodies are difficult to identify with infrared) and to provide high-wattage radio towers to interfere with wireless communication.

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