October 28, 2010
"Movable Steel Bridges" (video review)
London's famous tower bridge lifts its bascules for giant ship to pass,
© AP Photo
Source: AP Images
Movable Steel Bridges: Historical Survey: Draw, Bascule, Lift and Swing Bridges
H. de Jong & N.G.M. Muyen, program of the Faculty of Civil Engineering, Delft University of Technology
An excellent film for demonstrating the mechanics of how bridges work, "Movable Steel Bridges" provides an in-depth look at various types of bridges, their technical features, and designs. Beginning with a basic introduction on movable bridges and their origins, it traces the development of bridges used for everything from defense to transportation. The major focus is given to four main types of bridges, namely the drawbridge, the bascule bridge, the lift bridge, and the swing bridge. Incredibly detailed diagrams are utilized to show the lifting process and technicalities for each bridge as well as the various advancements in bridge construction. On the whole it is a fabulous resource for understanding the engineering behind movable bridges.
October 26, 2010
The New Addition to the Kelsey Museum of Archaeology
The Kelsey Museum's latest addition, the William E. Upjohn Exhibit Wing, allows even more of the Kelsey collection to be displayed than ever before. With two spacious floors, the addition houses a wide variety of objects from locations such as the Ancient Near East, Dynastic Egypt, Rome and Pompeii. The addition provides a light and open gallery space with a plan which progresses seamlessly through the various displays. A plethora of objects provide surprises around every corner from jewelry, sculpture, and Egyptian mummies to the everyday items discovered on archaeological digs such as ancient preserved food and inscribed eggshells. Also on display is the full-scale replica of a room in the Pompeiian Villa of the Mysteries with a watercolor rendition by Italian artist Maria Barosso of the fresco frieze that wraps around the whole of the interior. The new space features the Edwin E. Meader and Mary U. Meader Special Exhibition Gallery, which currently displays the exhibition Vaults of Heaven: Visions of Byzantium running until January 23, 2011. A collection of the photography of Ahmet Ertug, Vaults of Heaven covers Byzantine art and architecture from exquisite mosaics to magnificent domes displayed along with items from the Kelsey's own collection such as Byzantine coins and ivories. Free to the public, the Kelsey Museum is a rich find that offers something for all ages.
October 21, 2010
"Bridges: Design and Function" (video review)
Akashi Kaikyo Bridge, Kobe, Japan
© AP Photo/Kyodo News
Source: AP Images
Bridges: Design and Function
Presented by Discovery Channel
This video provides an inclusive look at the construction of bridges, examining successful bridges as well as disasters and why these bridges fail. Footage of the construction of the new Crooked River Bridge in Oregon, the Akashi Kaikyo Bridge in Japan, and the expansion of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel, as well as interviews of the engineers and construction workers are included. Weather conditions such as wind, saltwater and earthquakes and their effects on bridges are presented along with the techniques in bridge design that are used to combat such factors. The video is divided into two segments, each preceded and followed by comprehensive questions that provoke further thought on the material presented.
October 19, 2010
Haltadefinizione and the Uffizi Gallery
The Italian company Haltadefinizione's latest digital project features artworks from the Uffizi Gallery, providing paintings online of absolutely incredible image quality, and allowing a closer view of each painting than ever before! There are currently several paintings available for viewing online including works by the artists Botticelli, Bronzino, Caravaggio, and da Vinci. Providing the ability to navigate the painting by zooming in and out where you wish, it is a fabulous tool for studying and appreciating the art in great detail, allowing you to see right up to each individual brushstroke. Check out the Haltadefinizione website to revitalize the way you see art and to experience the richness of the Uffizi's collection.
October 14, 2010
"Babel 2015" (video review)
© Eloy Celaya
Babel 2015: The Revolution in Architecture
A Films for the Humanities and Sciences Production
With a look at the plans for Shanghai's Babel, a skyscraper intended to house a city within itself, Babel 2015 presents the development and utilization of bionic architecture. As cities such as Shanghai are rapidly expanding the need for such grand-scale buildings is evident, but problems people experience from living at such great heights, including dizziness and a removal from nature, need to be taken into consideration. Interviews with architects such as Javier Pioz and engineer Chris McCarthy relate the elements of bionic architecture and the desire to build environmentally inspired buildings not only to help solve these living problems, but also for the practical elements gained from studying and implementing nature in architecture. They consider the problems and challenges to Babel's design from wind to earthquakes, but also discuss how elements of nature can be effectively utilized to overcome these difficulties.
October 12, 2010
Planet Quest's New Worlds Atlas
Image credit: NASA
Explore the extrasolar planets discovered to date with New Worlds Atlas. Search by planet, system type or name to find concept images and information on each planet as well as comparisons to our planet and solar system's conditions. Charts relaying orbit, temperature, mass, and other statistics on the planet are also provided along with the date it was found and location. Develop a sense of the vastness of space and the uncharted territory waiting for discovery.
October 07, 2010
"Who Gets to Call it Art?" (video review)
Who Gets to Call it Art?
Produced and Directed by Peter Rosen
Rosen presents the life of Henry Geldzahler, curator of contemporary art at the Met from 1960-1977, through the art and artists he helped define. Henry was not just a curator, but also got involved with the artists and the creation process. Rosen conveys this interaction with interview clips with artists such as David Hockney and Frank Stella who relate their experiences with Henry. Also the film provides footage of interviews from the 1960s with William de Kooning, Andy Warhol, and Mark di Suvero among other artists talking about their work, along with a discussion of the movement from abstract expressionism and artists such as Pollock and Rothko to pop art with Lichtenstein and Warhol. Rosen also covers Henry's major work, the exhibition "New York Painting and Sculpture 1940-1970" relaying the controversy and the triumphs resulting from the show. Overall the film aims to get a sense of Henry and his eye for art and how his work and personality helped to further and to define the pop art movement. Painting a picture of his life, with images, interviews and a soundtrack featuring artists from The Velvet Underground to The Monks, the film tries to match the feeling of the art of the 1960s at the same time as present it. Special features include further interviews with artists relaying amusing anecdotes from Henry's life, the film happening "Fotodeath" by Claes Oldenburg in which Henry participated, as well as an interview with director Peter Rosen and artists James Rosenquist and Larry Poons.
October 04, 2010
Anniversary of Sputnik I
From NASA's "Image of the Day Gallery":
Image credit: NASA
Birth of the Space Age
History changed on Oct. 4, 1957, when the Soviet Union successfully launched Sputnik I, the world's first artificial satellite. About the size of a beach ball and weighing about 184 pounds, it took about 98 minutes to orbit the Earth on its elliptical path. That launch ushered in new political, military, technological and scientific developments. While the Sputnik launch was a single event, it marked the start of the space age and the U.S.-U.S.S.R space race."
Check out NASA's rich multimedia offerings here.