Thursday, December 21, 2006


On the subject of art imitating trees, check out this awesome design for tree-like windmills, from One Architecture, Ton Matton and NL Architects in the Netherlands. Leave it to the Dutch to come up with such a clever, beautiful, eco-friendly idea for power generation. This design was comissioned by the Dutch government, to develop a next-generation windmill that would be less intrusive in the flat Dutch landscape than the industrial mill-parks that currently generate much of the Netherlands power. The proposed windmill uses an organic branching design that can hold up to 8 turbines and grow as tall as 120 meters.

via inhabitat

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Monday, December 18, 2006


Designers' lounge in Kortrijk with designer of the year Alain Berteau. Food for design provide some molecular gastronomy desserts like a sugar bonbon filled with walnut oil and chocolate soil or soft chocolate, avocado, mint inspired by the pastry chef from WD~50 Alex Stupak.

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Friday, December 15, 2006


Hardy Wines has launched the Shuttle, which "features a 187ml (single serve) acrylic wine bottle securely sealed by its own acrylic wine glass. The tamper-proof bottle is opened by a simple twist-top action, which also releases the glass in which the wine is poured." Plus, you get to keep the glass afterwards. Finally, an end to guzzling wine directly from the bottle!

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via core77

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Thursday, December 14, 2006


Uichi Hiratsuka and his colleagues “have chemically harnessed bacteria to a micromotor so that they can make the device's rotor slowly turn.”

The machinery of each motor consists of two parts: a ring-shaped groove etched into a silicon surface, and a star-shaped, six-armed rotor fabricated from silicon dioxide that's placed on top of the circular groove. Tabs beneath the rotor arms fit loosely into the groove.

To prepare the bacterial-propulsion units, the team used a strain of the fast-crawling bacterium Mycoplasma mobile that was genetically engineered to crawl only on a carpet of certain proteins, including one called fetuin. The researchers laid down fetuin within the circular groove and coated the rotor with a protein called streptavidin.

The scientists then coated the micrometer-long, pear-shaped bacteria with a solution containing biotin, a vitamin that readily binds to streptavidin.

The team released the treated bacteria into the grooves in a way that sent them mostly in one direction around the circle. As the microbes passed each of a rotor's supporting ridges, their biotin-treated cell membranes clung to the streptavidin coating, causing tugs on the tabs and thereby turning the rotor.

Slow and weak, the rotors circle at about twice the speed of the second hand on a watch and generate only a ten-thousandth as much torque as typical electrically powered micromachines do. By using more bacteria, the scientists could boost the torque 100-fold, Hiratsuka predicts.

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via pruned

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Sunday, December 10, 2006


Harold Mc Gee has an occasional column in the New York Times Wednesday food section. His first column talks about the strange, blue-green colors that can develop when garlic and onions are handled in certain ways. The information in the column comes from several recent papers on the subject from labs in Japan and China.

[+ article]
[+ Curious cook]

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Not only the food, ambiance are premium at WD-50. Even the cocktails underline the richness of the restaurant. Jose Miranda of WD-50 in New York makes a Malta Fizz, with an egg yolk. The strangest ingredients sometimes make the best drinks. Real bartenders occasionally invent cocktails that their customers would rather not try. The trouble may be personal, an aversion rooted in an unhappy memory. But we tasted it and indeed it was superb.

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We were lucky to meet Gerald of foodite (one of the best sites on molecular gastronomy in the states) and Wylie Dufresne (chef of WD~50) at WD~50 in New York. WD~50 was already long on my list of restaurants I want to go and I can only talk in superlatives on the food and the ambiance of the restaurant. With every recipe Gerald and I were looking for the ingredients the chef added. And what strokes me is that we're so used to think in alginates, methylcellulose,... and we forget about simple solutions like freezing. Like for instance the fried mayonaise. The reflex is that it will be methylcellulose, but it was just freezing the mayonaise, coating with breadcrumb and frying.

Another interesting fact was that there was a dessert tasting menu, at ant time you just step into the restaurant to eat desserts. The desserts were by the way fabulous. Congratulations to Alex Stupak. It seems WD~50 can attract the best pastry chefs like Sam Mason, Alex Stupak. Wylie Dufresne is some one we should look up to. For the people who also love WD~50, when you're ever in Belgium, don't forget to visit some fantastic restaurants like 'L'air du temps', 'Hertog Jan' or 'In de wulf'. Belgium is also finding his way to the top.

[+ restaurant]
[+ photos of diner]
[+ foodite]

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Tuesday, December 05, 2006


An object does not need to be superconducting to levitate. Normal things, even humans, can do it as well, if placed in a strong magnetic field. Although the majority of ordinary materials, such as wood or plastic, seem to be non-magnetic, they, too, expel a very small portion (0.00001) of an applied magnetic field, i.e. exhibit very weak diamagnetism. The molecular magnetism is very weak (millions times weaker than ferromagnetism) and usually remains unnoticed in everyday life, thereby producing the wrong impression that materials around us are mainly nonmagnetic. But they are all magnetic. It is just that magnetic fields required to levitate all these "nonmagnetic" materials have to be approximately 100 times larger than for the case of, say, superconductors. This experiment was conducted at the Nijmegen High Field Magnet Laboratory.

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Electrolux has announced the winners of this year's Design Lab challenge: Healthy Eating in 2016.

First place was awarded to Metin Kaplan, a student at Istanbul Technical University in Turkey, for the Nevale, a heated and cooled food carrier that allows people to carry "real" meals and avoid less healthy fast food.

Second place was awarded to Brian Law Chuan Chai, a student at the National University of Singapore, for the Organic Cook portable cooking unit, which uses high-efficiency radiant energy to cook without fat when frying, grilling or broiling.

Third place was awarded to Eduardo Altamirano, a student at La Salle University in Mexico, for the Vessto, a portable, energy-efficient stove that is powered by waste energy.

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via core77

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Sunday, December 03, 2006


Lieven Lootens, chef at "'t aards paradijs" in Nevele, was invited at the Innovation day of Microsoft in Brussels. The event was basically a show case of various high tech projects aimed at EU representatives and journalists basically. But also the chef did a high tech show case with Texturas products and liquid nitrogen.

[+ restaurant]

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