Data + Design Project

A Hand-Built “Inner Space” Vehicle Explores Mexico’s Abandoned Railway Lines

Friday 06.20.2014 , Posted by
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In 1995, nearly 9,000 km of railway line in Mexico and Ecuador was abandoned due to low profits. The once promising route, which could have meant reliable trans-continental travel, was left to decay as a modern ruin. It was years later when Mexican artists and brothers Ivan Puig and Andrés Padilla Domene had a novel idea – to build a modern “inner space” vehicle to explore the old route through the heart of their country. The project turned into the strange silver rail and road vehicle you see here: SEFT-1. [Read more...]

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Detroit’s Rapid Decline Captured in Past Google Street Views

Monday 06.16.2014 , Posted by
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Once famous as the prosperous hub of automobile manufacturing in the US, Detroit is now far better known for its precipitous fall into dilapidated ruin. Nothing makes that more apparent than a look back through Googles recently released Street View “time machine” feature. Here we can cruise the streets of Motor City in years past, marveling at how alarmingly quick the city has crumbled. [Read more...]

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Say Hello to Van Gogh’s Famously Severed Ear… Grown From DNA and Displayed as Art

Wednesday 06.11.2014 , Posted by
Van Goghs Famous Severed Ear Grown From DNA 1

This goes down as one of the more technically advanced pieces of art I’ve seen. A team of scientists in collaboration with German artist Diemut Strebe has grown an ear “identical” in shape to the one van Gogh famously severed during a psychotic episode in 1888… and it includes actual genetic information from the artist. [Read more...]

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The World’s Oldest Pants: 3000+ Years Old and They Haven’t Changed Much… at Least For Hippies

Wednesday 06.04.2014 , Posted by
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Long before gowns, robes, tunics, and togas were the common dress in the Roman Empire, nomadic herders in western China were pulling on pants. This pair of trousers excavated from a Yanghai graveyard in China’s Tarim Basin are between 3,300 and 3,000 years old, making them the oldest example of this form of apparel known to exist… and they look a lot like hippie pants. [Read more...]

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Google Sent One Man to a Deserted Japanese Island… to Map It

Monday 05.26.2014 , Posted by
Gunkanjima Google Street View header

Forget roads. Google is more and more frequently found mapping the entire face of the planet, often with their 360 degree recording, backpack-based Google Trekker. In one recent adventure, they sent one man to document abandoned Hashima island off the coast of Nagasaki Prefecture in Japan. With buildings deteriorating so quickly that it’s reported you can hear concrete collapse when the wind blows, it could be the Trekker’s most dangerous foray yet. Don’t worry about wearing a hard hat though – you can now tour the island from the safety of your screen. [Read more...]

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150 Year Old Portraits Show Victorians Looking Seriously Fashionable

Monday 05.26.2014 , Posted by
Julia Margaret Cameron Photographs 1

Julia Margaret Cameron received her first camera as a gift at the age of forty-eight. It was 1863 and she was the mother of six children, but that didn’t stop her from pursuing a new found love for photography. It was a passion that is still influencing photographers today. [Read more...]

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Watch this Gentleman Enjoy the Five Stages of Inebriation

Thursday 05.15.2014 , Posted by
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Seriously, how great are vintage photographs when people aren’t acting stiff and formal?! Sometime between 1863 and 1868 Sydney photographer Charles Percy Pickering took these absolutely informal images of drunkenness in five stages, played by one convincing fellow in his studio. It looks like someone won’t be remembering Friday night! [Read more...]

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After English and Spanish, What’s the Most Common Language in Your State?

Wednesday 05.14.2014 , Posted by
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Did you know German is the third most spoken language in Colorado, or that it’s Hmong in Minnesota? What’s the third most spoken language in your state?

This map is too interesting. Yes, most people in the US speak English in daily life, followed down the list by Spanish in all but seven states… but what comes third? This map from Slate details some surprising results and points to drastically different histories of immigration across the US. [Read more...]

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How Dog Breeds Have Changed in Just 100 Years

Monday 05.12.2014 , Posted by
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When we hear old stories of giant St. Bernards racing over the snowy alps to rescue some lost soul with the famous brandy barrel around their neck, it’s easy to imagine they looked just like St. Bernards today… but we’d be wrong. In fact, it’s a common misconception that dog breeds look the same as they did even 100 years ago. Doctor Caen Elegans has compiled a side-by-side comparison of some famous breeds with older images from a 1915 book, Breeds of All Nations by W.E. Mason. They show how breeders have been further changing the appearance of these dogs, and as Elegans’ points out – unintentionally introduced a number of defects and maladies. [Read more...]

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Completed in 1878, This Isolated Sea Fort is Now a Luxury Hotel

Tuesday 05.06.2014 , Posted by
Spitbank Fort Hotel 1

When it was completed in 1878, the soldiers who occupied Spitbank Fort had no idea it would one day be a luxury hotel. The isolated sea fort is located in the Solent, near Portsmouth, England, and originally intended as a line of defense against ships that made it past the larger forts further out. As always, Spitbank Fort is only accessible by boat – a level of isolation rarely available in our highly connected world. Now, billed as “the UKs most exclusive private island” it features 8 luxury rooms and a rooftop spa with unrivaled views. It’s also one of the few hotels that can boast about having armor plating on its seaward side. [Read more...]

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