Thursday, 31 May 2012


10 Delightful Houses on Their Own Tiny Islands
By Claire Cottrell,
Flavor Wire, 30 May 2012.

We know no man is an island, but that doesn’t mean we wouldn’t love to live on one. After spotting these adorable tiny houses on tiny islands over on one of our favourite niche design blogs, we got to thinking. These humble little houses make our far-fetched dream of having an island of our very own decidedly more conceivable. With that, we’ve decided to champion the island house for every man now that we know you don’t have to be Johnny Depp to live on your own private island.

From the tiny bunkie retreats of the Thousand Islands to a stunning remote artist’s studio reachable only by boat to an island house with its own suspension bridge, click through to check out our roundup of island dwellings that have us dreaming of simple living, Gilligan’s Island-style. Then, tell us about your own private island fantasy in the comments below.

1. Tiny House - Thousand Islands, Canada

Image credit: Don Beck via Tiny House Blog

2. Artist Studio - Fogo Island, Newfoundland, Canada

Image credit: Bent Rene´Synnevåg via The Most Beautiful Houses in the World

3. Bunkie Retreat - Thousand Islands, Canada

Image credit: Ian Coristine via Tiny House Blog

4. House with Suspension Bridge - Towan Island, Cornwall, England

Image credit: The Daily Mail

5. Red Cottage - Thousand Islands, New York

Image credit: Tiny House Blog

6. Casa Malaparte - Punta Massullo, Capri, Italy

Image credit: flum

7. Villa Mecklin - Archipelago Sea, Finland

Image credit: Daily Tonic

8. Island House - Stockholm, Sweden

Image credit: ciLight

Image credit: Tenniswood

9. Thatched Hut - Playon Chico, Panama

Image credit: Lloyd Kahn

10. Squish Studio - Fogo Island, Newfoundland, Canada

Image credit: Archiscene

[Source: Flavor Wire. Edited. Top image added.]

Waterfront Wonders: 8 Great Modern Island + Ocean Homes
By Jill,
Web Urbanist.

When it comes to waterfront property, the beautiful views demand wide open spaces and most architects take a minimalist approach in order to prevent taking attention away from the stunning natural spaces. While there are ample excellent examples of modern home designs these days, it seems these naturally stunning locations demand modernist design techniques more than any other location type.

1. Norwegian Coastal Cabin

Simple, modern and open in all directions, this one-story coastal cabin, designed by the aptly named Fantastic Norway architecture firm, is a perfect place to relax and enjoy the panoramic views of the Norwegian coastline. The design is not only eye catching, it is also functional, providing a selection of wind-protected alcoves to enable visitors to enjoy spending time outside without risking their comfort.

2. Stealth Stone Summer House

Another Norwegian beauty, this stone home by Jarmund/Vigsnæs was legally required to blend in with its surroundings in order to even get a permit. Fortunately, designers went beyond the basic requirements and created a strikingly stealth home that brilliantly blends stone, wood and glass.

3. Cliff-Hanger Beach Villa

Set just off the shores of Peru, this stunning vacation villa by Longhi Architects blends stone masonry foundations and ultra-modern upper-stories and seems to simultaneously stand out and blend in with the jagged rock formations below.

4. Slaughterhouse Beach Cliff House

Seamlessly blending Eastern and Western design methods, this Malibu beach home [in Maui, Hawaii] by Olsen Kundig Architects is incredibly open. The stunning design allows residents to enjoy the amazing views of the Pacific without standing out too much on the gorgeous rocky coastline.

5. Home With Over 100 Windows

When a plot of land offers views that stretch from Santa Catalina Island to the Santa Monica Bay [California, USA], the last thing a home needs is too many walls obstructing the scenery. Fortunately, architect Steven Kent understood the value of this scenery and designed this ultramodern home to be as open as possible - with over 100 windows to enjoy the amazing views.

6. Canadian Island Cabin

The clever use of angles in this design by Agathom Architects help this cabin appear small from the outside and expansive on the inside. The expansive living room opens up to a library, kitchen, dining room and patio, all of which offer stunning views from massive windows.

7. Zen Lake House

This U-shaped house just outside of Stockholm [Sweden] provides beautiful views of the outside lake from every room. Fire, air, water, and earth are all incorporated into the design by WRB Architects, allowing the residents to relax and feel at peace with their surroundings.

8. Drop Off House

Most waterfront houses are serene places to relax and enjoy nature, but this cliff-top house designed by KA Architects was created for someone with a morbid sense of humour. While the house does have a view of the water, the built-in diving board that leads to nothing but the rocks below.

[Source: Web Urbanist. Edited.]

Monday, 28 May 2012

10 Surprising Things That Bacteria Like to Eat
By Keith Veronese,
io9, 24 May 2012.

You've probably heard of necrotizing fasciitis, also known as flesh-eating bacteria. But bacteria do not actually eat human flesh. They're actually trying to gobble up something a lot weirder. Here are ten of the stranger things bacteria naturally (and unnaturally) eat. You'll never look at dirty underwear the same way again.

10. Nuclear Waste

The bacteria Geobacter sulfurreducens changes the isotopic form of uranium through the transport of electrons, sucking up energy from the electron gradient and creating a stable, solid form of uranium in the process. This solid form of uranium is easier to recover in clean up efforts. These bacteria are currently being studied at uranium-contaminated sites in Washington and Tennessee.

9. Arsenic strain of Halomonadaceae bacteria (image source)

Arsenic is poisonous to humans, killing by quickly disrupting the production of ATP in cells. The GFAJ-1 strain of Halomonadaceae, a bacteria found in some California lakes, thrives in the presence of arsenic. When scientists substituted arsenic for phosphorous in nutrient sources, GFAJ-1 easily substituted arsenic for phosphorous in the creation of proteins. The researchers controversially suggested this quality could increase the probability of finding extra-terrestrial life, as phosphorous may not be essential to all life forms.

8. Crude Oil

Heavily oiled Brown Pelicans (image source)

Several types of bacteria naturally consume oil, but in the early 1970s General Electric scientist Ananda Chakrabarty engineered a form of Pseudomonas putida capable of consuming oil in a much more efficient manner.

New PictureOil-eating bacteria (image source)

A strain of Alcanivorax naturally appeared and consumed oil plumes generated from the Deepwater Horizon spill as well.

7. Caffeine

Image source: ninasaurusrex/Flickr

Researchers at the University of Iowa found an unusual food source for Pseudomonas putida CBB5 - caffeine. The group fed CBB5 caffeine as its only source of nutrition, with Pseudomonas putida CBB5 eventually metabolizing caffeine into carbon dioxide and ammonia.

6. Human Waste

10 Surprising Things That Bacteria Like to EatImage source: mrlego54/Flickr

Bacteria are commonly used to break down waste at sewage treatment plants, but supplying oxygen for the bacteria becomes a problem. The bacteria Brocadia anammoxidans is able to survive in the absence of oxygen by living off of ammonia and nitrite, two molecules prevalent in human waste.

In the process of consuming human waste, the bacteria excrete hydrazine, a molecule used as a thruster fuel for space probes and as a propellant for military artillery.

5. Rocks

Image source: Christian Rößler/CC

Bacteria don't necessarily eat large rocks, but their acidic secretions dissolve them. This is becoming a problem in many abandoned mines within Colorado where antiquated blasting techniques left massive cracks in mine walls.

These cracks expose the remaining minerals inside to unwelcome water and bacteria. When the bacteria consume ore containing sulphur, they can excrete sulphuric acid, allowing for the oxidation of iron and causing damage to other rocks if enough acid enters the surrounding water.

4. Nothing for a very long time

New Picture (1)A bacterium similar in appearance to those featured in the new study (image source).

A 2009 expedition grazed the bottom of the Pacific Gyre, so that researchers from Denmark's Aarhus University could extract 90 foot cores of sediment. Within the sediment they found an unnamed form of bacteria that went quite along time without substantial food due to a scarcity of nutrients in the sediment. The sediment surrounding the bacteria could be up to eighty-six million years old, so these microbes went quite a while without a nice meal, slowly metabolizing the nutrients they could find.

3. Gonads

New Picture (3)Wolbachia proteins (green) (image source)

A strain of the bacteria Wolbachia targets an interesting part of the Aedes aegypti mosquito - the gonads. The bacteria doesn't destroy the entire reproductive organ, but they make a home there and alter the course of reproduction. While this is a cruel move on the part of Wolbachia, it does prevent the mosquitos from carrying the Dengue virus, a virus that infects 50 million people in third world countries each year.

2. The Titanic

The remains of the RMS Titanic sit a few hundred miles off the coast of Newfoundland and two miles below the ocean surface. At this depth, bacteria deemed Halomonas Titanicae are consuming the steel of the Titanic as a fuel source. The only material the bacteria stay away from on the ship are brass items. Brass contains copper, which quickly kills most bacteria.

1. Dirty Astronaut Underwear

10 Surprising Things That Bacteria Like to EatImage source: jasmined/Flickr

Living on the International Space Station creates a number of problems. In the late 1990s, Russian scientists created a cocktail of bacteria to degrade the underwear of astronauts to cut down on waste, with the hopes of harnessing the resulting methane gas to use as fuel.

Astronauts aboard the International Space Station are only allowed to change their underwear every three days due to waste disposal issues, so they might be looking forward to the implementation of this system.

Top image: Colonies bacteria Escherichia coli growing in a agar plate (image source: bjarkihalldors/Flickr).

[Source: io9. Edited. Some images added.]

Sunday, 27 May 2012


12 Hilarious Grammar Mistakes on Facebook & SMS
By Gracie Murano,
Oddee, 26 May 2012.

New Picture (8)Please use it (source).

New Picture (9)That must be so annoying (source)

New Picture (11)Agree to disagree.

New Picture (14)Just a prediction.

New Picture (15)It's genetic (source).

New Picture (16)Something is missing (source).

New Picture (17)What,s the problem? (sic) (source)

New Picture (19)

[Source: Oddee. Edited. Top image added.]


New Picture (37)New Picture (34)

Top 10 Tech This Week [PICS]
By Charlie White,
Mashable, 26 May 2012.

It was a momentous week for tech, where commerce met spaceflight, a popular smart watch faced off with a wily competitor, a futuristic way to compute turned into reality, and a commonplace inconvenience was suddenly eliminated with an ingenious idea.

if you’re looking for a quick peek into the future, you’d arrived at our own special portal that will take you there with just a few clicks. So sit back and strap yourself in, pilgrim, and ride along with us in the latest edition of Top 10 Tech This Week.

1. LG 55-Inch OLED: The "Ultimate Display"

LG 55-Inch Ultimate Display

When I first laid eyes on the LG 55-inch OLED display at CES last January, it was love at first sight. Now LG says its "Ultimate Display" will be available in the second half of this year. I'm thinking that means December.

This astonishing US$10,000 TV of the future will be worth the wait. Its displays the most saturated and vivid colours I've ever seen on any screen, and besides its spectacular rendition of video, it brings along additional surprising specs.

The thing is just 4mm thin, and look at that extremely tiny bezel. Backed by carbon fibre, the TV weighs a mere 22 pounds, a feat that seems nearly impossible. It'll even have a "dual-play" technology that will let two people watch different content on the screen at the same time. Could be great for gamers.

Can't bear to part with US$10K for TV? Someday sooner than later, these beauties will be cheap - my guess is they'll cost half that by the second half of next year.

2. Cookoo Connected Watch

If you liked that Pebble Smartwatch I showed you a few weeks ago, you might like the Cookoo watch even more. It also works on Android and iOS devices, but that's where the similarity ends. This simpler connected watch uses icons, beeps or vibrations to alert you of incoming calls, texts, tweets, calendar reminders and Facebook chats and messages. And if your life is already too digital, you'll like its analogue hands. Better yet, there's no fussing with charging every day, either - its battery is said to last a year.

It's a Kickstarter project, so if you pledge 50 bucks you can get in line for one now, or wait for it to go retail, where you'll pay between US$99.95 to US$129.95 depending on style and colour. Looks cool - the only downside I can see is that it looks a bit thick for my taste. See for yourself: Check out our video here.

3. Leap Gesture-Based Computing

Leap Gesture-Based Computing

A computer that you control with sweeping gestures just got a lot closer with Leap.

You see that little box the size of the small bar of soap underneath the screen? That's Leap, a sensor smart enough to tell which of your fingers are pointing at the screen. It reacts accordingly, reportedly with no latency. It can even discern between fingers and thumbs. And, its maker says it's 200 times more precise than motion control technology has ever been.
Here's a closer view of Leap. Hey, if it's that good, maybe this could someday replace keyboards and mice. Can't wait for that Minority Report style of gesture-based computing? It's not available yet, but the company says its little box will be shipping this winter. If Leap works as well as promised, it will be well worth its US$69.99 price.

4. LiquiGlide Super-Slippery Coating

Tired of waiting for that ketchup to finally come out of the bottle, or digging around for the last mini-dollop of mayonnaise? Thanks to the brain trust at MIT, now there's LiquiGlide, a magic new coating that makes the inside of containers super-slippery. Made of proven-safe substances that are already used in foods, it's completely non-toxic and can be applied to glass, metal, ceramics or plastic.

To be used first in food containers, there are also plans to use it in oil pipelines and other conduits where things get clogged up too easily, and to keep ice from sticking to windshields. It's hard to believe how well it works until you see it in action.

5. Mondrian Fanless PC

In a world where computers have increasingly become commodities, Jeffrey Stephenson is an artist who blends beauty with technology. Usually handcrafting computers from a variety of attractive woods, Stephenson's latest creation is accented with acrylic tiles arranged in the style of artist Piet Mondrian and inspired by a Yves Saint Laurent dress from 1965.

Enthralled with Mondrian, I couldn't resist this lovely Mini ITX PC. Besides being downright beautiful, it's loaded with competent components. Inside is a Core i3 processor and a 256GB solid-state drive, and it makes hardly a sound, cooling itself with a single 80mm fan that's assisted by highly efficient heat-sinks.

Take a look at Stephenson's site, and you'll get an idea of the creative and artistic workmanship he executes with every one of his examples, winners of numerous competitions. Custom building these computers with his own hands makes them expensive - he doesn't usually talk price - but I'm sure he would build one for you for a certain lofty fee.

6. SpaceX Dragon Docks With International Space Station

What a week for SpaceX! After a flawless launch, delicate pirouettes in low-Earth orbit, a rendezvous with the space station, some serious grappling and now docking, the private space company headed up by Elon Musk made history.

Opening the Hatch

And on Saturday, the crowning achievement: opening up the door to a commercial space vehicle docked with the International Space Station. And it's not just for fun, either - the Dragon spacecraft was packed with supplies for the space outpost.

Now if these intrepid pioneers can bring the spacecraft safely back to Earth, all the mission objectives will be fulfilled. Welcome to a new era in space flight.

7. Russia, Japan Moon Presence

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, HomeGrownGraphics

In the midst of all this space progress, talk and imaginations turned back to the moon, with Russia and Japan the biggest talkers about a moon base at the Global Space Exploration Conference on Tuesday.

Russia's been talking about a moon base for a while now, to almost deaf ears at NASA (which is now more interested in traveling to asteroids). Meanwhile, Japan has already sent a few orbiting probes to the moon, and announced at the conference that the moon is "our next target for human exploration."

Talk is cheap. Sending humans to walk (or even live) on other heavenly bodies might not be as easy as it looks. Will Japanese and Russian astronauts set up housekeeping on the moon before NASA touches down on an asteroid?

8. Sonos SUB

New Picture (35)
I've tested the entire line of Sonos wireless speakers, and they can deliver ultra-high quality sound to numerous locations in the home. My only complaint? Not quite enough bass for my taste, but now Sonos claims to solve that problem with the Sonos SUB.

Connect the US$699 Sonos SUB to a Wi-Fi network, and this massive 36.3-lb speaker plays nicely with any of the other Sonos products, adding serious bottom to the other speakers' already convincing mid-range sound and shimmering and gorgeous highs.

Sure, Sonos speakers aren't cheap, but in this case, you get what you pay for. I'm looking forward to hearing this beautifully-designed sub-woofer when it's available in June.

9. Hypo Spray
New Picture (36)

Constantly envious of those Star Trek hypo spray injectors every time I went to the doctor when I was a kid, now that coveted concept has become a reality - thanks to MIT scientists.

This needle-less injection system shoots a intricately controllable jet of drugs to a precisely selectable depth, and it's said to be no more painful than a mosquito bite. It can even inject substances into eyes or ears, and can deliver medicines in their powdered form when refrigeration isn't an option.

Even if it's not completely painless, it sure beats getting stabbed with a needle.

10. C-1 Electric Vehicle

Is it a motorcycle? Is it a car? Yes to both. It's a two-wheeler with a gyroscope holding it upright - reminiscent of the gyroscopically stabilized Segway. To me, the C-1 looks like the love child of a motorcycle and a pint-sized electric car, but I like it.

C-1 Electric Vehicle 2

This electric urban vehicle's makers claim an extraordinary range of up to 220 miles per charge.

C-1 Electric Vehicle 3

After you've charged up in a relatively quick 4 to 6 hours, it can zip along at 120 mph.

C-1 Electric Vehicle 4

It's not exactly roomy inside, but then, that's how it gets that tremendous efficiency.

C-1 Electric Vehicle 5

No need to open up the doors and put your legs on the ground when you're at a stoplight, because its gyroscopes keep it upright, supposedly even when there's a collision.

C-1 Electric Vehicle 6

If you want to accommodate a passenger, it's a decidedly motorcycle-like affair. Want one? Its makers say it'll cost between US$12,000 and US$16,000, available sometime in late 2014.

[Source: Mashable. Edited. Top image added.]