The Utsunomiya Museum of Art museum in Japan recently created a gigantic balloon shaped like middle-aged man's head and launched it into the sky as part of an effort to bring art into public spaces. You can view the project's website here and see more pictures of the project here.
The history of the Berlin Wall in 36 iconic images. To celebrate the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Wall, Berlin is once again divided, this time by an 3.5 m (11 foot)-tall, 16 km (10 miles)-long "border or light" (Lichtgrenze) made of 8000 illuminated balloons, created by German light artist Christopher Bauder. [more inside]
Paper Matrix is a blog that gives instructions for cool papercraft objects, "reinterpreting the Danish tradition of woven paper hearts and ornaments." Cut paper in the prescribed ways and weave it together carefully to make a mobile of colorful hot air balloons, gorgeous and complex boxes; simple but satisfying pennants and much more... including a full theater for performances by paper dolls.
Balloon Bag End. Guy creates Hobbit hole with air and rubber.
At the request of Tavi (wiki) and his wife Anaheed, This American Life host and MetaFilter favorite Ira Glass has contributed an Ask A Grown Man segment (NSFW audio) (AAGM previously) to Rookie. As an added bonus, he instructs viewers on how to make balloon animals, based on a pamphlet he used as a young man entertaining at parties. When not dispensing balloon advice in this clip, he discusses Buffy & Angel's age discrepancy and blow jobs. (via)>
Ordinary objects made beautiful by physics: a red scarf surrounded by electric fans. Half-filled water balloons and Jello (previously) dropped and shot at 6200 frames per second. Two ball bearings welded together and set to spin with a breath.
Balloon twisting is more than ballon animals. If you get really good, you can make life-sized dinosaur skeleton replicas, complex alien flora and fauna, or intricate scenes with thousands of balloons. It all starts with learning how to twist and shape balloons. If reading diagrams doesn't work for you, there are plenty of tutorial videos online.
"Hi Rob. You know how we said we were going to have a 6 month party in your room?" Rob's roommates had a good time while he was away.
Peter Watts presents: Flesh-Eating Fest '11 (NSF the squeamish pictures several clicks further into this link). SF writer Peter Watts (aka The Plastinated Man) has survived a near-lethal bout with necrotising fasciitis (Wiki link with disturbing image at the top). Part 0 (Mildly icky picture of a small sore on his leg.): "Anybody know what this thing is?" Part 1 (no images): "Some of you may have heard by now that I got hit with a serious case of necrotising fasciitis (more luridly known as “flesh-eating disease”) late last week. I’m told I was a few hours away from being dead." Part 2 (no images): "Let us start with the fact that I contracted flesh-eating disease during the course of getting a skin biopsy — that it was being all precautionary and taking proper medical care of myself that nearly got me killed." Part 3 (ohgodohgodohgod - very graphic photos): Recovery at home shown in words and pictures. Some of the photos show cute cats and a smiling, competent home nurse. Most do not. You have been warned.
After a test flight nearly ended in disaster at the start of the Civil War, Professor Thaddeus Lowe recovered his balloon and headed back North. Recognizing the potential use of air vehicles in the war, he managed to get an invitation to the White House in order demonstrate the capabilities of balloons in the war effort. [more inside]
Holidays on Display, currently on view at the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History, offers an image-rich online exhibit as well, detailing the way businesses learned to capitalize on one of the country's largest celebrations. Peer into the artistry of holiday window design as well. [more inside]
"To mark the 40th anniversary of the Internet, DARPA has announced the DARPA Network Challenge.... The challenge is to be the first to submit the locations of ten moored, 8 foot, red weather balloons located at ten fixed locations in the continental United States. Balloons will be in readily accessible locations and visible from nearby roadways." Teams must register by December 1st and have two weeks to submit balloon locations. [more inside]
Japanese Balloon Bombs — "In 1944, during World War II, Japan launched a top secret project, nearly two years in the making, to send thousands of "balloon bombs" (called Fu-Go Weapons) to the United States. The goal of the attack was to create panic, forest fires, and show the United States that it could be attacked from afar. Each of the more than 9,000 balloon bombs launched towards the United States, over the course of several months, carried a 15 kilogram bomb that would detach from the balloon and explode on impact with the ground." On a Wind and a Prayer. [more inside]
Primal source at GLOW (video), Burble London (an implementation of Open Burble) (video), Evoke (video) - the transformative artworks of Haque Design and Research. Interview with Usman Haque. Previously.
You wake up, walk out into the early morning air, kiss your wife goodbye, pet the Chihuahua, and sink into your lawn chair for another breathtaking flight. On Saturday Kent Couch set off to recreate, for the second time, the famous flight of Larry Walters, balloon-lawn-chair-aviator and Darwin Award Honorable Mention. Kent flew some 193 miles using 105 helium balloons, and unlike some previous fliers, his event was not only successful, it was photographed by a chase plane.
Toy art: tribal scooters, spider car, little animal robots out of broken electrical parts, a color changing house designed by a 14 year old boy, of wood, wind-up, MunkyKing, Ugly Dolls, out of beer cans, with balloons, Cute Things, artoyz, toys from trash, tiny knitted dolls clothes and accessories, vintage and retro at Tick Tock Toys.
In 1938 the British Balloon Command was established to protect cities and key targets such as industrial areas, ports, landmarks and harbours.Barrage balloons or "Bulging Berthas" were inflatable shiny silver-painted balloons, made of rubber-coated fabric, and filled with hydrogen gas used prevent low level attacks by enemy aircraft. The balloons flew anywhere from 500 feet to 10,000 feet. The 15 gauge flying wire that tethered them could clip the wings off a plane. They were also used at sea and to cover invasions. They were also effective against the V-1 flying bomb and back in the late 80s, at least one general thought they could still be used to protect airfields.
Did you ever wonder what it would be like to pop a water balloon in space? (Check out this page for more videos)
Sky Ear will be a one-night event in which a glowing "cloud" of mobile phones and helium balloons is released into the air so that people can dial into the cloud and listen to the sounds of the sky. The cloud will be made of one thousand large helium balloons each responding to the electromagnetic environment (created by distant storms, mobile phones, police and ambulance radios, television broadcasts, etc.) with coloured blue, red and yellow lights.
"A man can't just sit around." This summer marked the 20th anniversary of the guy tying balloons to a lawn chair and floating along two miles high, shivering and brandishing his pistol at bewildered passing airline pilots. Also this year, the historic lawn chair was finally found.
The other side of globalization? For over three years, a balloon twister and a photographer went around the world and made balloon hats for everyone they met, for free, and took pictures of them.
My new hero John Ninomiya is going to fly tethered to a cluster of balloons this weekend. I've dreamt of doing this since a kid and I guess I'm not alone.