Sunday, 31 May 2015

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Ad: If there's someone special in your life who is a business analyst, this custom business card holder will make an ideal gift. The phoenix logo is a subtle(?) metaphor for what the job will result in :)

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Global warming means fewer—but more powerful—hurricanes

Hurricanes, and tropical cyclones more generally, are dangerous forces of nature that damage even the most well-developed societies. In the US, the devastation caused by hurricanes can last for years. When it comes to the conditions required for hurricanes to develop, some scientists are concerned that an increase in ocean warmth caused by climate change could have unforeseen consequences. But there has been debate over precisely what those consequences will be. Fewer or more hurricanes? Greater hurricane strength?

A team of scientists has performed a new exploration of the global tropical cyclone response to ocean warming. This study specifically examines the frequency, intensity, and activity of cyclones with a lifetime-maximum wind speed exceeding 17 m/s (about 37 mph—well below the 75 mph threshold for a category 1 hurricane).

The scientists analyzed the influence of the Southern Oscillation Index (SOI), which indicates naturally fluctuating ocean temperatures in the equatorial pacific (El Niño), as well as the overall sea surface temperature (SST), which indicates global ocean warmth. Overall, the global mean SST has increased by 0.3°C over the past 30 years.

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Met Gala Preview: China Through The Looking Glass

The fashion industry's greatest night will happen in a few hours. I was treated to an early preview of the Metropolian Museum of Art's costume institute exhibit that will be the star of the 2015 Met Gala. China: Through The Looking Glass was one of the most spectacular fashion exhibitions I have ever seen.

The morning started with remarks by Marissa Mayer, CEO of Yahoo, Andrew Bolton, the Costume Institute's curator and film director Wong Kar Wai, who also served as the exhibit's artistic director while reigning queen of Vogue Anna Wintour presided over the ceremony.

wong kar wai anna wintour
The displays were stunning. Many of the museum's antique archive pieces of Chinese garb were presented alongside contemporary couturier pieces that were clearly influenced by them. Groupings included looks that took traditional motifs and embroideries as its muse. There was a beautiful room of pottery inspired gowns.

"Through the looking glass" is actually a paraphrased translation of a Chinese idiom referring to the reflection of the moon. There was a room set up to look like a garden with a reflecting pool. The ceiling was a digitally animated moon progressing through its different phases while water droplets fell. The mirrored surface was the perfect stage to show all sides of the sculptured silhouettes of this gallery.

metball 2015

As a fashion fan, couture fan, Met museum fan, I loved this beautiful exhibit. However, as an Asian-American, I wondered where all the actual Chinese contributions were? Of course, director Wong Kar Wai's vision of the exhibit was tremendous and very heavily promoted. Within the exhibit itself, I found that 90% of the "fashion" looks were by Western designers. They were paired with Chinese antiques, but there was no discussion of how much China contributes to modern fashion. How many of the Western design labels who were celebrated here are produced in China.

Of course, no exhibition on Chinese designers could be without Vivienne Tam who is the most prominent brand to bridge traditional and modern pop culture with Chinese motifs. A few exceptions included amazing pieces by Guo Pei and Laurence Hu. Otherwise, there were endless looks from Yves Saint-Laurent, Givenchy and John Galliano for Dior. While I can't argue with the beauty of the gowns themselves, John Galliano lost his position at Dior for the embarrassment of his verbal attack of racist Asian slurs.  Design notes from Yves Saint-Laurent demonstrated how the brand loved the exoticism of oppressed classes like coolie and slant-eyed sketches that would be very offensive today.

There was an entire gallery of how Yves-Saint Laurent's Opium brand influence spread the love of the Asian aesthetic and a small gallery of Paul Poiret using Orientalism as his trademark trend. The percentage of European and American designers appropriating Chinese culture was presented in a way that seemed to say that the Chinese culture was only validated as a design force only after Western designers chose to steal it. This seemed very much in line with Hollywood's prevalent "Great White Hope" approach to movies featuring any other ethnicity (think The Last Samurai).

Actress Gong Li, has also been heavily promoted in all the press releases leading up to tonight's Met Gala as co-host. No doubt there will be more Chinese nationals at this gala than ever before. However, how many Chinese guest has Anna Wintour invited before or will invite after this year?

Many of the most important designers of today's fashion scene are Chinese, like Alexander Wang, Jason Wu, Philip Lim, Anna Sui. I saw a hat by Jason Wu, but otherwise, I did not see any other pieces representing these designers for today. How about the technology, the innovations, the current trends from Chinese designers that don't fall neatly into the cliche idea of "Chinoiserie"?

There was a gallery of Anna May Wong, one of the very few movie stars of any prominence from the early part of the 20th century. If one is looking for a gorgeous Asian Hollywood star to be inspired by, she would be the one. There was a costume worn by her and similar gown inspired by that era. While it looked beautiful, the thought that came to mind was how little progress we have seen for Asian actresses considering how many years have passed.

I'm looking forward to seeing the red carpet from tonight's Met Gala for China Through the Looking Glass. I'm hoping that there will be a contemporary representation of the history shown at the exhibit today. While artistic and fashionable, this exhibition was breathtaking, culturally, there is still a long journey ahead.
All photos by Mariana Leung
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Defects Can “Hulk-Up” Materials

In the story of the Marvel Universe superhero known as the Hulk, exposure to gamma radiation transforms scientist

The post Defects Can “Hulk-Up” Materials has been published on Technology Org.

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Rick Satava’s Luminous Glass Blown Jellyfish Appear Suspended in Motion


The jellyfish tank is the first environment I always run to when visiting an aquarium. I’m drawn to the luminous quality of the underwater creatures’ bodies, as well as their inclusion in a scene that appears to need no sources of artificial light. Glass artist Rick Satava was also captivated by these creatures in the late 80s, and after a trip to the Monterey Bay Aquarium he began to experiment with sculptures that mimicked the experience of a jellyfish’s elegant glide through the water.

Satava began selling these sculptures in 1990, and by 2002 he was crafting about 300 pieces of work a month. The bright jellyfishes he creates are suspended in the glass that surround them, yet each still appears as if their tentacles are rippling through the water. The glass blown approach works perfectly when translated to the round bell-like shape of the jellyfish’s body, as their natural appearance looks like brightly blown glass.

The California-based artist uses a technique in his sculptures called “glass-in-glass,” which consists of a glass sculpture being dipped into a second, molten glass layer. You can find Sativa’s sculptures within dozens of galleries nationally as well as a few locations internationally including Japan, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland. (via My Modern Met)







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MaterialsLab Improves How We Conduct Research On Earth and in Space

When companies try to “build a better mousetrap,” the process can involve lots of internal studies and tests

The post MaterialsLab Improves How We Conduct Research On Earth and in Space has been published on Technology Org.

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Fake data was used in study claiming efficacy of gay canvassers

Analysis of a widely-publicised Science paper has found evidence that the data used the in the research was faked (PDF).

The study, by researchers Michael J. LaCour and Donald P. Green, claimed that a short conversation with a gay canvasser could persuade people in favour of gay marriage, significantly more than a conversation with a straight canvasser. The paper reported that the effect was found to last in 3-week, 6-week, and 9-month follow-ups, and could be passed on to other people living in the same household.

While working to replicate and extend the original research, David Broockman and Joshua Kalla uncovered problems with the data used by LaCour and Green. They were initially surprised at how high the response and re-interview rates were in the original paper’s data, and launched a small test run of their planned extension study.

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Nicole Richie Hosts FIT's Future of Fashion 2015

fit fashion show 2015
The Fashion Institute of Technology's graduating class held a showcase of their students best designs on Thursday night. The FIT class of 2015 fashion show was hosted by Nicole Richie, mentor of NBC's Fashion Star and founder of the House of Harlow brand.

The fashion design students were mentored by top designers in the industry, like Reem Acra for evening wear, Nicholas K, Tess Giberson and Victoria Bartlett. The graduates also had the opportunity to work with and win awards for Best Use of Color with magazine Siempre Mujer and designing with cotton with the Cotton Inc. Awarrd.

nicole richie fit

The Future of Fashion show drew fans from all over industry, including Calvin Klein's Francisco Costa, Nicky Hilton. Judges who helped curate the show down to its top looks included Lucky Magazine fashion director Anne KeaneCollen Sherin of Saks Fifth Avenue and blogger BryanBoy. 

This year, the school's faculty chose their top looks from their classes for their students to compete in a People's Choice Award. The winner, designer Caroline Vagnone was chosen over social media over a two-day period from 17000 votes cast. 

I am always impressed with the level of talent each year when I see the graduating shows. Young designers now are very savvy with both marketing and garment technology in addition to their creative skills. Good luck to FIT's class of 2015!
FIT fashion design
Best looks from the Future of Fashion 2015
Photos courtesy of /Dave Kotinsky & Slaven Vlasic for Fashion Institute of Technology

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An Interactive ‘Fur’ Mirror by Daniel Rozin

As part of an exhibition of new artworks at bitforms in New York, artist Daniel Rozin (previously) designed the PomPom Mirror. The device relies on motion sensors and 928 faux fur pom poms manipulated by 464 motors to create a mirror reflection of the viewer in real-time. The PomPom mirror is one in a long series of similar interactive installations that utilize motorized arrays of moving objects like wooden pegs, trash, or even folding fans, that generate moving silhouettes in response to movement. Descent With Modification at bitforms runs through July 1, 2015. (via Booooooom)




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LHC achieves record-energy collisions

Yesterday engineers at the Large Hadron Collider successfully collided several tightly packed bunches of particles at 13 trillion electronvolts.

The post LHC achieves record-energy collisions has been published on Technology Org.

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