‘Letterlocking refers to the folding and securing of any writing surface (such as papyrus, parchment, and paper) to function as its own enclosure.’ In their YouTube channel, Jana Dambrogio of MIT Libraries and her colleagues demonstrate a number of letterlocking techniques, from a simple method used by Russian soldiers in WWII, to more elaborate and ‘secure’ schemes employed by the likes of John Donne, Constanijn Huygens, Elizabeth Stuart and Queen Elizabeth I. [more inside]
It’s a Trap: Emperor Palpatine’s Poison Pill by Zachary Feinstein [.PDF]
In this paper we study the financial repercussions of the destruction of two fully armed and operational moon-sized battle stations (“Death Stars”) in a 4-year period and the dissolution of the galactic government in Star Wars. The emphasis of this work is to calibrate and simulate a model of the banking and financial systems within the galaxy. Along these lines, we measure the level of systemic risk that may have been generated by the death of Emperor Palpatine and the destruction of the second Death Star. We conclude by finding the economic resources the Rebel Alliance would need to have in reserve in order to prevent a financial crisis from gripping the galaxy through an optimally allocated banking bailout.via: Popular Science [more inside]
“Cut Microbe” is a sculpture entirely hand cut out of paper. Measuring 44 inches/112cms in length, it is half a million times bigger than the ecoli bacteria upon which it is based. I wanted to create a sculpture that reflected in the process of being made the incredible scale and complexity of this microbiological world. I am amazed at the strange beauty of the natural world and wanted to open people’s eyes to aspects of it that they rarely see. -Rogan Brown
With the introduction of Google's new logo, why not take a look at the extensive documentation explaining the details of their Material Design philosophy?
The Federal Aviation Administration has approved the use of a paper airplane drone. Forbes has an interview with the UAV advocate who filed the petition to get an exemption for the paper airplane drone.
Ebru (paper marbling) has a long tradition in Turkey with more than just the feathery peacock pattern on your kleenex boxes. In the gallery at Ebru Atölyesi, some look geologic, some combed, some swirls, even leaves and flowers. Modern patterns exploit turbulence in the bath. [more inside]
In the summer of 1963 Jerry Gretzinger began drawing a map of an imaginary city. You can now use Jerry's Map to zoom in on any of the over 3,200 eight by ten inch panels of the original paper map, executed in acrylic, marker, colored pencil, ink, collage, and inkjet print. This short film by Greg Whitmore takes a fascinating look at the project and the artist's process, which "is dictated by the interplay between an elaborate set of rules and randomly generated instructions." [via]
The history of paper engineering in books, or the making of "pop-up books" didn't start as a way to entertain children, but in the search for more tools to educate adults, including some proto-computers from as early as the 13th century. Let Ellen G. K. Rubin, known also as The Popup Lady, regale and inform you at length, in either the form of a 50 minute presentation for the Smithsonian Libraries, or read through her website, where she has a timeline of movable books and see the glossary for definitions of the different movements as starting points. Or you can browse the Smithsonian's digital exhibition (the physical exhibition ended a few years ago). And of course, there's plenty more online. [more inside]
Ito Wataru is a paper artist from Saitama, Japan, who graduated from Tokyo National University a few years ago. A Castle on the Ocean 海の上のお城 (2007) is the product of four years of work and has lights and a little paper train (which moves, but alas, no video). [more inside]
Many are worried about what [e-book] technology means for books, with big bookshops closing, new devices spreading, novice authors flooding the market and an online behemoth known as Amazon growing ever more powerful. Their anxieties cannot simply be written off as predictable technophobia. The digital transition may well change the way books are written, sold and read more than any development in their history, and that will not be to everyone’s advantage. Veterans and revolutionaries alike may go bust; Gutenberg died almost penniless, having lost control of his press to Fust and other creditors. But to see technology purely as a threat to books risks missing a key point. Books are not just “tree flakes encased in dead cow”, as a scholar once wryly put it. They are a technology in their own right, one developed and used for the refinement and advancement of thought. And this technology is a powerful, long-lived and adaptable one.—From Papyrus to Pixels is a long essay in The Economist about the changing form of books, presented both as a traditional web-scroll, as an e-book and in audio form.
President of Eckerd college Donald Eastman III wrote a letter to the students about preventing sexual assault. His recommendation? Less alcohol and less casual sex. The college's student paper, The Current, responds in a civil, well spoken and cogent rebuttal.
Pencil and Paper Games is devoted to games you can play with nothing more than a pencil and a piece of paper (some of which can be played on the site, for those who do not have access to a pencil and paper, or remember what those are.) [more inside]
John Collins, holder of the world record for paper airplane flight distance, shows you how to fold that airplane. Here, he demonstrates the plane to David Rees[previously], along with a few other designs, which he also teaches to you: the Tube, the Boomerang, and the Tumbling Wing. [more inside]
Diana Beltran Herrera sculpts beautiful birds out of paper. She's currently working on a series based on postage stamps; you can see some of the new birds on her Facebook page. [via]
Pen Paper Ink Letter is a pen and paper blog maintained by Heath Cates. Currently holding Ink Week, its best feature is a massive index of product reviews, from the blog itself and other blogs. [more inside]
Many types of quilt blocks can be built by stitching together simple geometric shapes. Then there’s paper (sometimes called foundation) piecing. [more inside]
Who knew structural engineering could be so sweet? Justina Yang is the "paper engineer" behind Fiber Lab, a design studio located in her sunroom. She creates paper art, décor, bracelets, bowties, and lamp shades. In her short videos, she demonstrates how to make your very own dodecahedron; a whimsical carousel that produces beautiful waves and teaches you about wave interference; a mesmerizing interactive kinetic wave sculpture; a string art geometric love story; and a delicious-looking paper croissant.
Yulia Brodskaya is a Russian artist/illustrator now living in England whose quilled paper pieces are increasingly in demand. Her website is rich with her work - jump right into the illustration or art sectons - or browse the news section to see a roughly reverse chronological listing. Design Taxi has collected a group of images highlighting her quilled typography. [more inside]
Yesterday, during the pre-World Cup friendly between England and Peru being played at Wembley Stadium, there were three goals scored, but the moment that captured the most attention has been this unbelievable, incredible paper airplane toss.
Fisher Yu, a Princeton grad student, and David Gallup, a Google employee, have published a method for retrieving the 3D information of a scene from the small motion of the hands that occurs while taking video. They've given their paper a website that includes a video, the paper itself, and a dataset. One neat application of this is the ability to simulate short depth of field, a feature that has made it into the new Google Camera app.
Harikrishan Panicker and Deepti Nair, who both hail from India, go by the duo artist name of Hari & Deepti. Together they create small and large diorama artworks made of intricately cut layered paper lit by LED lights.
Shigeru Ban’s Pritzker win proves that building hope is finally in vogue
The architecture world has a new laureate, and he builds in cardboard. Japan’s Shigeru Ban was named this week as the winner of the Pritzker Prize, an annual award that is often called architecture’s Nobel – and his win sends a clear and timely message. Social change, sustainability and improving the lives of the many: This is what matters now to the world of architecture. With Ban’s Pritzker, the global design elite is marking that shift.Take a Tour of Pritzker Winner Shigeru Ban's Paper Tube Structures [more inside]
With recognition software making the use of recycled term papers impractical, a new service is now allowing students to hire unemployed professors to write term papers from scratch.
Shigeru Ban: ‘People’s architect’ combines permanence and paper"
Generally speaking, an architect’s style is defined by particular forms or shapes. There’s Frank Lloyd Wright’s prominent horizontal lines, for instance; Le Corbusier’s simple white boxes; or, more recently, the deliberately abstract masses of Frank Gehry — of Guggenheim Bilbao fame. But in the view of Japanese architect Shigeru Ban, such formal elements are ultimately little more than reflections of current trends — in the first two cases above, Modernism, and in the third, “blobbism,” or the recent taste for irregular shapes made possible by computer-aided design. According to Ban, the only way for architects to keep their work free from the influence of such transient fashions is to come up with new ways to actually build things — new materials, for example, or new approaches to structural engineering. His own answer? Paper — or, to be more precise, cardboard tubes.[more inside]
Zim and Zou are paper artists. They make delightfully colorful paper versions of things like food and technology and the whole world. [via]
"My subject is a barren one – the world of nature, or in other words life; and that subject in its least elevated department, and employing either rustic terms or foreign, nay barbarian words that actually have to be introduced with an apology. Moreover, the path is not a beaten highway of authorship, nor one in which the mind is eager to range: there is not one of us who has made the same venture, nor yet one Roman who has tackled single-handed all departments of the subject."Naturalis Historia was written by Pliny the Elder between 77 and 79 CE and was meant to serve as a kind of proto-encyclopedia discussing all of the ancient knowledge available to him, covered in enough depth and breadth to make it by a reasonable margin the largest work to survive to the modern day from the Roman era. The work includes discussions on astronomy, meteorology, geography, mineralogy, zoology and botany organized along Aristotelian divisions of nature but also includes essays on human inventions and institutions. It is dedicated to the Emperor Titus in its epistle to the Emperor Vespasian, a close friend of Pliny who relied on his extensive knowledge, and its unusually careful citations of sources as well as its index makes it a precursor to modern scholarly works. It was Pliny's last work, as well as sadly his sole surviving one, and was published not long before his death attempting to save a friend from the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius that destroyed Pompeii and Herculaneum, famously recounted by Pliny's eponymous nephew Pliny the Younger.
Here is a reasonable translation that is freely available to download from archive.org for your edification.[more inside]
Are paper books becoming obsolete in the digital age, or poised to lead a new cultural renaissance? [more inside]
It happens every year. The days get shorter, a sub-zero chill is in the Hoth air, the wampas start venturing into your hidden home base, and new Star Wars Snowflakes are introduced for holiday crafting fun. New to 2013, battles. It just isn't Christmas without a T-47 Snow Speeder making an attack run on an AT-AT, or Luke Skywalker facing down a hungry Rancor beast. Enjoy 13 new designs. So, get yourself a sharp cutting blade and have fun. (2012 snowflakes here.)
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.
Mental Floss examines the history of the Trapper Keeper, the de rigueur school accessory of the 1980s, on its 35th birthday.
Revelations in the field of quantum physics have resulted in the discovery of the Amplituhedron, a jewel-like higher dimensional object whose volume elegantly predicts fundamental physical processes that took the brilliant Dr. Richard Feynman hundreds of pages of abstruse mathematics to describe. The theoretical manifold not only enables simple pen-and-paper calculation of physics that would normally require supercomputers to work out, but also challenges basic assumptions about the nature of reality -- forgoing the core concepts of locality and unitarity and suggesting that space and time are merely emergent properties of a timeless, infinitely-sided "master amplituhedron," whose geometry represents the sum total of all physical interactions. More: The 152-page source paper on arXiv [PDF] - Lead author Nima Arkani-Hamed's hour-long lecture at SUSY 2013 - Scans of Arkani-Hamed's handwritten lecture notes - A far more detailed lecture series "Scattering Without Space Time": one, two, three - Arkani-Hamed previously on MeFi - A hot-off-the-presses Wikipedia page (watch this space)
Shigeru Ban is a Japanese architect whose work includes 'temporary' structures (YT) made from cardboard tubes. His work blurs the distinction between temporary and permanent, and includes designs that focus on cost effective and liveable shelter after natural and human disasters. Now, two-and-a-half years after the Christchurch, New Zealand earthquake destroyed the city's cathedral, the Cardboard Cathedral has been opened. [See also: 1 2 ]
How-To: Paper Micarta, Micarta from blue jeans, How To Make Homemade Micarta. Micarta is a genericized name for any paper or fabric, layered, soaked in resin, then dried, shaped, and polished.
Got some time to kill? How about making some paper truck models?