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06 JANUARY, 2012

The Dawn of the Microprocessor and the Birth of Venture Capital

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“Announcing a new era of integrated electronics.”

From the Santa Clara Valley Historical Association, the same folks who brought us the secret of life from Steve Jobs in 46 seconds, comes this short documentary segment on the birth of the microprocessor and the dawn of the venture capital industry in Silicon Valley in the 1970s, featuring interviews with Steve Jobs, microprocessor inventor Marcian Edward “Ted” Hoff, and other trailblazing entrepreneurs.

We had nothing to lose, and we had everything to gain. And we figured even if we crash and burn, and lose everything, the experience will have been worth ten time the cost.” ~ Steve Jobs

The excerpt comes from the 1998 PBS documentary Silicon Valley: A 100 Year Renaissance, produced by the Institute for History of Technology the narrated by Walter Cronkite, which was subsequently adapted into a book of the same name.

A notable piece of tech-history ephemera makes a cameo in the film — the 1971 Intel ad announcing the very first commercial microprocessor:

For a related treat, don’t miss this charming minimalist 8-bit animation about the titans of Silicon Valley.

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05 JANUARY, 2012

Bike Art: Bicycles in Art Around the World

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A two-wheel canvas for creativity, or what pedals have to do with pedestals.

We’ve already seen how the humble bicycle can emancipate women (and keep them patriarchy-bound), rein in incredible design innovation, be a manifesto for the creative life, and serve as a metaphor for computers, courtesy of Steve Jobs. But, it turns out, the bike can also be an incredible canvas for art. Bike Art: Bicycles in Art Around the World presents a voyeuristic tour of the lesser-known intersections of art and bike culture, spanning design, performing arts, steampunk, street art, and more through works created on walls, canvases, paper, pedestals, bikeframes, skin and clothing by a range of international artists.

And, of course, what’s a declaration of obsession if not signed by ink? If science geeks can do it, bike geeks can do it:

For more on the fascinating history and far-reaching impact of bike culture, don’t forget Robert Penn’s excellent It’s All About the Bike: The Pursuit of Happiness on Two Wheels.

Images courtesy of Gingko Press; thanks, Sharon

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05 JANUARY, 2012

Three Classic Fairy Tales Examined Through the Lens of Architecture

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What Rapunzel’s braid-to-tree connection has to do with the rotational circumference of Baba Yaga’s house.

As a lover of classic fairy tales and longtime fan of Kate Bernheimer’s modernist ones, I was delighted to come across Design Observer’s three-part series, in which Kate and Andrew Bernheimer reimagine the magical homes from three beloved fairy tales — Baba Yaga, Jack and the Beanstalk, and Rapunzel — through the lens of architecture. In each installment, a different architecture firm selects a favorite fairy tale and examines its pivotal structure through a new kind of imaginative architectural storytelling.

Houses in fairy tales are never just houses; they always contain secrets and dreams. This project presents a new path of inquiry, a new line of flight into architecture as a fantastic, literary realm of becoming. We welcome you to these fairy-tale places.” ~ Kate Bernheimer & Andrew Bernheimer

As a child of Eastern European folklore, I’m partial to the first installment, in which Bernheimer Architecture examine Baba Yaga through its most important structure — the chicken legs, of course — and consider “how one might make a structure or an architecture ‘chicken-like,’ both externally and internally.”

In part two, Leven Betts Studio take a curious paradox of Jack and the Beanstalk — that the vehicle for the story’s magic, adventure and triumph is the beanstalk, yet it’s rarely described — and use it as the focal point of their architectural explorations.

Fairy tales are exemplified by spare and abstract detail, leaving enormous space — big as the sky — for the reader to wonder.”

In the third and final installment, Guy Nordenson and Associates bring their masterful structural engineering to Rapunzel’s tower, blending the original vision of the Brothers Grimm with their own pre-existing design for The Seven Stems Broadcast and Telecommunications Tower .

Rapunzel’s tower has come to symbolize both an enchanted, magical home and a dreadful prison from which to escape. Inside, one’s heart is full of desire and longing; and one must always also get out. The complicated emotional valence of this space is part of its longstanding appeal.”

For more modernist fairy tale magic, don’t miss Kate Bernheimer’s My Mother She Killed Me, My Father He Ate Me: Forty New Fairy Tales — a wonderful anthology of stories by some of today’s greatest fiction writers, including Neil Gaiman, Michael Cunningham, Aimee Bender and Lydia Millet. And for a classical take, look no further than the best illustrations from 130 years of the Brothers Grimm.

via It’s Okay To Be Smart

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