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Carrying the Torch

It’s a scene that has played out many times before: the eyes of world are focused on the opening ceremonies, and the lighting of the Olympic flame effectively announces, “let the games begin.” Ever since the 1936 Games in Berlin, this tradition has enlisted the finest designers around the world to represent the host country in torch form. As the athletes get ready to go for gold in Beijing, The New York Times took a retrospective look at past torches and the newest flame bearer. This year’s torch, formed in the shaped of a traditional Chinese scroll, doesn’t credit one person with its design, but gives the distinction to Lenovo, the company that produces the IBM Thinkpad. Interesting.

via Core77

New York Times Magazine: Timeless Object

Nice shout out in Rob Walker’s Consumed Column in the Sunday NY Times Magazine, in an article entitled Timeless Object. Thanks Rob!
The absurd-sounding Abacus watch with its little rolling ball might make you "miss appointments" but it's likely to "get some attention," commented a writer on one such site, JoshSpear.com. "Sweet." And really, if you're the alpha-consumer type who craves such a watch, surely you tote a mobile to tell the actual time "” and to call whomever you're meeting to explain that you'll be late. Again.

Talk Shop Fridays: Green Building vs. NIMFY?

Although the construction controversy at 123 W. 15th St. in Manhattan touches on so many property rights issues, I’m going to narrow the scope for this week’s Talk Shop Friday post. Valhalla, as the owners the Rath Family has dubbed the building, sits (or is slated to sit) 74 feet high at the intersection of Chelsea and Greenwich Village. The surrounding neighborhood is historic and mostly aesthetically uniform– we’re talking lots of ‘quaint’ Brownstones here. Valhalla at once extravagant and frugal in its design– “an avant-garde take on postmodern impressionist design” incorporating the newest and most efficient green building technologies (e.g. geothermal wells) that will make the building relatively self-sufficient and free to heat. Neighbors of Valhalla are in an uproar, boisterously evoking that “not in my front yard” mentality. Folks, this is a difficult issue. Where do we draw the line between maintaining the historical visual appeal of a neighborhood and innovating our way into the future with sometimes extravagant architectural designs that incorporate energy-efficient green building technologies? Is there a way to do both? All other issues aside (financial, prior tenant eviction, etc.), what do you think?

Background Reading: NYT Article

Welcome NYT Readers

I wanted to personally welcome all the New York Times readers to my site– Rich Meislin gave me a nice mention in his article in the technology section titled Blogs 101. Joshspear.com, dubbed: “the pulse of cool”, was listed with half a dozen other familiar sites under the heading ‘Technology Toys & Cool Things’. I suppose this merits launching a proper press section, which will happen in the very near future! Also, a reminder: Don’t forget I still have a bunch of Bamboosa t-shirts to giveaway, you can sign up for the mailing list to be selected!

Rob Walker

All though the Core77 interview with Rob Walker has been up for a while, I finally gave it a read today in some free time. The interview is very insightful, and I recommend it to anybody with interest in the behaviors of our consumer culture. If you’re not familiar with Rob Walker, he has a weekly column called “CONSUMED”, in The New York Times Magazine. He also has a new book out, Letters From New Oreleans, which I haven’t read yet but I’m looking forward to.

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