Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Listen Up!

The Arecibo Observatory is part of the National Astronomy and Ionosphere Center (NAIC), a national research center operated by Cornell University under a cooperative agreement with the National Science Foundation (NSF). The NSF is an independent federal agency whose aim is to promote scientific and engineering progress in the United States. NSF funds research and education in most fields of science and engineering. Additional support is provided by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)

The Observatory operates on a continuous basis, 24 hours a day every day, providing observing time, electronics, computer, travel and logistic support to scientists from all over the world. All results of research are published in the scientific literature which is publicly available.

As the site of the world's largest single-dish radio telescope, the Observatory is recognized as one of the most important national centers for research in radio astronomy, planetary radar and terrestrial aeronomy. Use of the Arecibo Observatory is available on an equal, competitive basis to all scientists from throughout the world. Observing time is granted on the basis of the most promising research as ascertained by a panel of independent referees who review the proposals sent to the Observatory by interested scientists. Every year about 200 scientists visit the Observatory facilities to pursue their research project, and numerous students perform observations that lead to their master and doctoral dissertations.

The Observatory had its origins in an idea of Professor William E. Gordon, then of Cornell University, who was interested in the study of the Ionosphere. Gordon's research during the fifties led him to the idea of radar back scatter studies of the Ionosphere. Gordon's persistence culminated in the construction of the Arecibo Observatory which began in the Summer of 1960. Three years later the Arecibo Ionospheric Observatory (AIO) was in operation under the direction of Gordon. The formal opening ceremony took place on November 1, 1963.

From the beginning there were certain requirements for the site. It had to be near the equator, since there, a radar capable of studying the ionosphere could also be used to study nearby planets which pass overhead. The Arecibo site offered the advantage of being located in Karst terrain, with large limestone sinkholes which provided a natural geometry for the construction of the 305 meter reflector.

In addition an Optical Laboratory with a variety of instrumentation used for the passive study of terrestrial airglow is located at the Observatory. A lidar (Light Detection And Ranging) together with a Fabry-Perot interferometer is primarily used to measure neutral winds and temperatures of the middle atmosphere This capability complements that of the incoherent scatter radar, and gives Arecibo a unique capability in the world in terms of aeronomic research.

On October 1, 1969 the National Science Foundation took over the facility from the Department of Defense and the Observatory was made a national research center. On September 1971 the AIO became the National Astronomy and Ionosphere Center (NAIC).

In 1974 a new high precision surface for the reflector (the current one) was installed together with a high frequency planetary radar transmitter. The second and major upgrade to the telescope was completed in 1997. A ground screen around the perimeter of the reflector was installed to shield the feeds from ground radiation. The gregorian dome with its subreflectors and new electronics greatly increases the capability of the telescope. A new more powerful radar transmitter was also installed.

About 140 persons are employed by the Observatory providing everything from food to software in support of the operation. A scientific staff of about 16 divide their time between scientific research and assistance to visiting scientists. Engineers, computer experts, and technicians design and build new instrumentation and keep it in operation. A large maintenance staff keeps the telescope and associated instrumentation as well as the site in optimal condition. A staff of telescope operators support observing twentyfour hour per day.

All photos via The Arecibo Observatory

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Nicaragua welcomes Glen Small

Glen Small with Flying Pod House, 1969-72. Photo Orhan Ayyuce

Last weekend I helped my friend Glen Small store his stuff in a rented garage. Glen is 75 y.o., dissed by starstruck American architectural realm and moved to Nicaragua permanently (as of today).
This is not unlike like what the jazz musicians did in the past, avoiding segregation.
Glen should be treated like a treasure, but instead... All because he has an outspoken and egocentric genius personality. Unfortunately people can't take somebody who can't hide the truth for political and professional advances.
Among his credentials, he is the founding member of Sci Arc. That school still banks on Glen's rebellious image and his early directions.

He is also the subject of my first interview for Archinect and a follow up thereafter.

As we moved Glen's stuff into the storage, tons of models, drawings, publications, personal stuff, posters surfaced...
He, at one point said, "there goes another move."
It was real fascinating to see his work in historical context as he was relating all the models, boxes and documents to their origination points.
We inspected every piece before movers stack them up in the rented garage which now I have a key to.

There were some gems I haven't seen physically before like the Flying Pod House model.
Familiar with newer versions? I am sure you are familiar with re-discovery of some ideas illustrated, but of course no credit for Glen and his 'way ahead of its time' work.
A lot of this kind of resentment came up parcel after parcel...

At the end, we have decided resentment was useless and time was ripe to move into new ideas, new projects and let many in the architectural world know, "you can kill the architect, but never can take away his ideas."

For those of you who are familiar with Glen Small's work, this is the latest news on him. And those who are not familiar, check it out as soon you have a moment to ponder about where did some of the greenest and futuristic ideas came from, way ahead of their time and along with many works of the time mostly forgotten today under the current green euphoria.

Oh... I am the proud owner of a 'real' Eames shelves prototype that was never produced. All plywood shelves are busted and #4 bar construction needs new paint, but it is modular and stacks up.
Plus some Futurist magazines with Glen on the cover and posters and other stuff...
Thanks Glen you didn't have to...
I hope Nicaragua embraces you better than the US.
Good luck with your future projects and keep us informed with the products of your unbounded imagination, creativity and rebellious persona.

I am posting few images of Glen's work between late sixties and early eighties to give you some idea.


Friday, December 5, 2008

(Silly post of the day) Mies in; How High is the Water Mama

Background music by Johnny Cash

A politi-cali morning

Few Commendments, Venice Beach, Nov. 2008

Thinking about what I can do to cause a controversy today, I decided to take myself to Venice Beach early in the morning, take some pictures and talk about things that might offend some readers for not talking about Pritzker Prize winners and 007 James Bond personally blowing up modern architecture... ->
A small collection of photos, freshly shot this morning and a few months ago, showing why Los Angeles worth every penny of its inflated living expenses. At least for me, for us, who, I clocked this morning, live only two miles away from the Pacific Ocean but only visit the surf on limited occasions and as little as once in a while all the same...

I have come to the conclusion, that, this is what I have to do; Go to Pacific Ocean every other day with Tina, sometimes take the dogs with us and report on poverty and riches, living side by side, sometimes as glamorous as a live photo shoot and sometimes as beautiful as “freedom is having your crow and big book by your side, under the modern master like Mark di Suvero...” Fixated not...

Take my word, Boardwalk is political. But you decide how... I have...
Also, watch the word plays... This way... Just before old Billy’s Apartments become multi million dollar condominiums. Yes they can...

Flickr Slides

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

"I want to be a pilot"

Image from the film, Diego Quemada-Diez


After the amazing experience of working in the film The Constant Gardener I wanted to make my own film in Kibera. My intention was to find a powerful story that would show the extreme situation in the slums of Nairobi.
So I went back to listen to the kids from the ghetto, to hear their stories, their feelings, their dreams.

On August 2005 I interviewed about 50 orphan kids in one of the classrooms from Raila’s School.
David Mugambe and the school’s principal helped me organize the interviews. David passed away just a few weeks later in a car accident. Wherever he is now, I thank him deeply from my heart. The film would not be what it is whithout his help. This film is dedicated to him as well as all the victims of AIDS, poverty and social injustice around the world.

Most of the kids I listened to had lost both parents at a very young age, and all of them from AIDS. The parents were all in their twenties at the time of death.

The kids told me about their feelings of loneliness, their sorrows, their complaints about corruption, pollution, the lack of clean water and sanitization, religious fanatism, the exploitation by adults, and most importantly, the lack of love in their lives, the absence of hope for a better future.

I will never forget how an eight year old kid explained to me how he used decantation to get clean water from black, extremely infected, polluted water. It took him hours, just pouring from one glass to another, waiting for the solids to settle, over and over, so at the end he would boil it and drink it.

All the kids cried for help, one after the other.
They asked me for school uniforms, for books, for food, for water, for money to pay the school’s tuition, for pencils/pens and many other things.
I was overwhelmed, I just listened as deeply as I could.

When asked about their dreams and hopes most of them wanted to be airline pilots, doctors or nurses.

After a few hours, I left home very moved.
Suddenly, it was as if something hit me:
80% of them wanted to be airline pilots!
I thought: “I Want to Be A Pilot”.

Then I started writing.
I started crying.
Writing, crying. I could not stop either one.
Somehow the words were pouring out of me.
After two days the poem was completed.

Then I went back to Kibera with the sound crew to record the kids reading the poem. After eight kids read the poem, there was one that had a powerful sadness in his voice. It was as if he carried everyone’s sorrow.
I had found him. It was Collins, who in the film plays Omondi.

A year later I went back with a Super-8 camera and shot the images for the film.

That’s a little bit of the story of how this came into being, I really din’t know where it was heading.. I just wanted to listen to them and create something that would inspire us to want to take action.

There are millions of kids in the world victims of the injustices of our industrial civilization, while we are distracted buying things, evading reality.
Our neocolonial policies are taking their toll on our children, on mother earth and all living beings we share this planet with.
Their suffering is ours.
Wake up!

Diego Quemada-Diez


Libyan Museum of Conflict

Image via

London-based Metropolitan Workshop has won a closed competition for the new Museum of Conflict in Tripoli, Libya. The museum will house permanent and special exhibitions on Libya’s unique history, telling the story of campaigns and conflicts that have shaped the country from colonial power to independent state.

Interesting angle for a museum (with pun.)
If it becomes what I think it should, I would like to visit this museum someday.

My grandmother had to relocate to Istanbul following Italian occupation, leaving most of her family property in Tripoli. Being the oldest daughter, she had to care for her two younger sisters and a brother, which was pretty gutsy thing to do for a young independent spirited muslim woman, roughly around 1915-20 during WWI.
I grew up listening her nostalgic stories of Libya, the white marble lined streets of Tripoli and Benghazi.
They spared us from difficult facts of exodus. Maybe for good. My mother says we still have some distant relatives there. According to my calcs, I am up to 12.5% Libyan/berber.
Maghreb is a complicated place, for its countless historical conflicts and for providing elasticity for etnicity investigations.
I hope the museum, a stealth fighter looking place for a minute, goes further than displaying war machines and armory as depicted in the rendering and traces human stories and lessons of wars as well.

Maybe I am feeling nostalgic of my grandmother's nostalgia, visualizing the museum of my own family's conflicted history...

Image via

More @

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

KRob 2008

best of show

I was in Dallas on November 6Th. to jury the annual KRob delineation competition.
The three people jury have struggled with over three hundred entries in different categories. Agreed, disagreed, fought for, and at the end selected a winner, best of show, that reflected or suggested the generational change in the world of architectural delineation.
In a way, as a jury we have delineated the state of affairs in architectural visualization, and/or, depiction.
The process of arriving the building, urban design, conceptualization was the focus of this year's winner.
Perhaps for the first time in the competition's thirty year history, we have maneged to select a winner that was more of a diagrammatic depiction of an idea rather than a depiction of a building in 1:1 imaging we see in front of construction sites or in newspapers titled "artist's drawing of the development," etc...
Sure, there were also winners and citations and traditional renderings at the end.
But make no mistake, the winner was clearly reflected a thought process rather than picturing a finished building, a building-morte as in nature-morte, still life...
It was rather a speck of time started from nowhere, made its mark and just like it was conceived, disappeared. A rendering that captured the 4Th. dimension, a rendering suggesting things had to go beyond the modern 3D echole. This made the drawing a lot more interesting.

jurist select3

On the other hand, one entry clearly caught my attention, reminding me my own background and familiarity of miniature style of drawing that predated the western perspective that was put in action by Filippo Brunelleschi in 15 Th century.
It was drawn in familiar Eastern miniature style, combining plan, elevation and distance in 2D, letting mind to construct the volume, exploiting the information that can be shown in a drawing. A map, a mood, and design information all in one, a pure utility if you will, which I thought can be investigated further by the contemporary practitioners.

jurist select1

Another jury selected a beautifully executed watercolor painting of a church and with that we were reminded that no matter how the processes change there is always the human eye, which triggers the desire of beauty we fall back to...


There was yet another jurist selection which was depicted on an x-ray film of a hand. I thought ultimately suggesting biological surface of our imagination, a forensic depth of things at play in the process.

KRob website

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Louise Bourgeois at MoCA, Los Angeles

After being seen in London, Paris, and New York, the retrospective exhibition of works by 96-year-old Louise Bourgeois has finally arrived in LA - to dazzle, to provoke, and to unsettle virtually everyone who walks through the galleries of the Museum of Contemporary Art, hosting this exhibition until the end of January.

Born in France but living in New York since 1938, Louise Bourgeois is one of the most famous artists working today. Yes, she is still working -- the most recent piece in the exhibition is a large collage created only four months ago. It's made out of a gauzy underskirt, purposefully and specifically arranged in the shape of a vagina. Trust me, after seeing her drawings, sculptures, and installations spanning more than seven decades of artistic journey, you will lose your inhibitions and learn to call a spade a spade. I cannot think of any other artist who dares to deal with human sexuality in such a direct, sometimes even frightening way. And you will never see another exhibition with so many sad-looking, drooping phalluses and boobs: makes you feel somewhat melancholic and philosophical.

Louise Bourgeois

More @ Art Talkby Edward Goldman

Ash Weekend in Los Angeles

Owner of a mobile home that burned in Slymar fire

Photo of the fires taken via NASA satellite

Ashes on my car

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Deforestation in Mato Grosso, Brazil from 1992 to 2006

The Thematic Mapper on NASA’s Landsat 5 satellite captured the top image of part of Mato Grosso on August 6, 1992. The Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Relfection Radiometer (ASTER) on NASA’s Terra satellite captured the bottom image of the same area on July 28, 2006. In both of these false-color images, red indicates vegetation, and the brighter the red, the denser the vegetation. The Rio Peixoto de Azevedo appears pale blue, nearly white, in 1992, perhaps a combination of reflective sediment or sunlight glinting off the water.

More @ NASA Earth Observatory

Friday, November 14, 2008

Internet Picture of the Day: sight seeing

A herd of sheep pass beneath the Eiffel Tower in Paris/bbc

Hundreds of protesting sheepfarmers descended on Paris to herd a flock of sheep from the Eiffel tower to the Agriculture Ministry. Many of the farmers say they will have to give up their herds if they do not receive help in the near future. (reuters)

Saturday, November 8, 2008

I Snapshoot the OMA Theatre

Photo: Orhan Ayyuce

In my recent visit to Dallas Center for the Performing Arts under construction, I saw Wyly Theatre by OMA. I photographed OMA's beautifully executed models of the project and the building in progress, ready for its variegated aluminum tube skin on its way from Argentina.

Friday, October 31, 2008

4 Halloween pictures of the Halloween 2008...Zzzzzz...

People love Halloween!

Move the line folks!

Ummmm... Can I get some rest please?

Rose Ave. Mar Vista, Los Angeles. Photos by Orhan Ayyuce

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

XBox Runaway / Microsoft / "Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare" + $50,000.00

Missing runaway teen

-By Michel Comte, AFP
Brandon Crisp, 15, took off on his bicycle from his Barrie, Ontario home on October 13 -- Canada's Thanksgiving holiday -- and rode east along an old rail line.
He has not been seen since.
His father told local media he had removed Brandon's XBox, built by Microsoft, after noticing changes in behavior since Brandon started playing "Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare" online.The boy started skipping school, stealing money and ignoring his studies, his father said.
A local newspaper, the family's Internet service provider and Child Find offered a 25,000-dollar (19,500-dollar US) reward for information leading to his return.
Microsoft topped it up with another 25,000 dollars, the company said Tuesday in an email to AFP, "hoping for his swift return."
"Like everyone, we are deeply worried about the disappearance of Brandon Crisp," the company said.

The giant amounts of money involved in computer games industry at large, and increasing levels of actual violence among the teenagers creeping up, reputations must be kept intact.

Living room warriors

Even the senseless killings in the living rooms must have happy endings. After all, if Microsoft doesn't come to the rescue of the consumers who wait at the doors of stores featuring XBox sales, then who will? Twenty five thousand Canadian dollars award is just a small amount to say "we care."
With that, Microsoft expresses that every player must be accounted for and safely return to their living rooms!

Zero Hour XBox

In a seperate CNET post by Michelle Meyers the teenager's father said;
"This had become his identity, and I didn't realize how in-depth this was until I took his Xbox away, that's like cutting his legs off."
"I just took away his identity, so I can understand why he got so mad and took off," he added. "Before, I couldn't understand why he was taking off for taking his game away."

You will better understand the Father's dilemma and Microsoft's worry when you are more familiar with the "Game" below...

Introduction to "Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare"

Last Updated: Wednesday, November 5, 2008 | 2:20 PM ET
CBC News

Foul play not suspected after teen's body found in Ontario

A body found northeast of Barrie, Ont., on Wednesday is believed to be that of 15-year-old Brandon Crisp, who disappeared from his home last month after a dispute with his parents over a video game.

Brandon Crisp, 15, is shown here in an undated family photo. (Barrie Examiner/Canadian Press)

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Internet picture of the day: Parabolic dish systems

Parabolic dish systems:

A parabolic dish collector is similar in appearance to a large satellite dish, but has mirror-like reflectors and an absorber at the focal point. It uses a dual axis sun tracker.

A parabolic dish system uses a computer to track the sun and concentrate the sun's rays onto a receiver located at the focal point in front of the dish. In some systems, a heat engine, such as a Stirling engine, is linked to the receiver to generate electricity. Parabolic dish systems can reach 1000 °C at the receiver, and achieve the highest efficiencies for converting solar energy to electricity in the small-power capacity range.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Google Earth stop of the Day: Mississippi Delta

Go there

Go there

Ground control to Chandrayaan

Jantar Mantar Observatory, in Jaipurvia, Rajasthan, India. Built in 1728. PlanetWare (more...)

NEW DELHI — India launched its first unmanned spacecraft to orbit the moon early Wednesday, part of an effort to assert its power in space and claim some of the business opportunities there.

This is good boost and a less controversial rocket show for the nationalists in India, when in fact, they were looking and charting the galaxy and beyond since way back...

Presently they say they are looking for Helium 3, a light, non-radioactive isotope of helium and a potential replacement for fossil fuel.

With this, the Asian Space Race is officially on.

Of course all this after we did the real Lego work and still keep it ahead of everybody else...

Chandrayaan-1, mission control..LIVE..

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Hollywood News: "This ain't no disco"

La Forestière estate, Clichy-sous-Bois, close to the area where Luc Besson had begun filming From Paris With Love. Photograph: Dan Chung/guardian

Production of a Luc Besson film starring John Travolta has been suspended in one of the Paris area's toughest housing projects after 10 cars to be used in the movie were burned. Some say it is a gang war.

Note: Music video and cars burning clips added by the author via YouTube.

via Guardian

Mass paranoia of the day: Coo Doll says, "Islam is the Light"

Little Mommy Cuddle 'n Coo dolls, available in the UK for as little as £19.99, have been reported as saying 'Islam is the light' Photo: PA

Talking Fisher-Price doll accused of promoting Islam:
A talking Fisher-Price doll that sounds like it is saying "Islam is the Light" has been described as inappropriate by parents.

The Fisher-Price Little Mommy Cuddle 'n Coo is meant to make realistic baby sounds and occasionally cry out for its "mama".

But some parents claim that one of its noises sounds just like "Islam is the Light", and have complained to Mattel, which owns Fisher-Price.

Some shops in the US have removed the doll from shelves after complaints from customers, according to reports. It is available in Britain for £19.99.

A spokesman for Fisher-Price insisted that the doll was not pushing pro-Islamic messages, adding that the sound some parents were hearing was caused by an accidental distortion of the doll's soundtrack.

"The Little Mommy Cuddle 'n Coo dolls feature realistic baby sounds including cooing, giggling, and baby babble with no real sentence structure," a spokesman said.

"The only scripted word the doll says is 'mama'. There is a sound that may resemble something close to the word 'night', 'right', or 'light'.

"Because the original soundtrack is compressed into a file that can be played through an inexpensive toy speaker, actual sounds may be imprecise or distorted."

Earlier, Mattel released a statement saying that "the power of suggestion" was the reason why parents were mis-hearing the doll.

"It's not what you would expect out of a sweet little doll," said Martina Hollermann of Ramsey, Minnesota, who bought the toy for her children. "Everyone was kind of creeped out."