Recent lists... view all »
oobject: 'daily user-ranked gadget lists'
The original wireless network used pigeons. One of the worlds largest information firms, Reuters actually started out as a messaging service with carrier pigeons, they were used widely for messaging during the WW1 and even for aerial photography. The famous psychologist, Skinner worked on a guided missile which was to be controlled by live pigeons.

the pigeon net

Both the second world war and cold war produced particular styles and uses of bomb shelters that were unusual, from Swiss suburban houses with mandatory blast shelters and several years of food to the use of London’s tube stations as shelters during the second world war. Here are a few examples of vintage shelters, each with a hint of retro irony or bygone strangeness.

9 retro bomb shelters

Here are some examples of things we put in space that came back down. They went up shiny and futuristic and what came back looks like medieval remains.

space junk

The sight of a Zeppelin under construction must have been an awe inspiring experience. The hangers that were constructed for this purpose are the largest structures even created and the lightness required for the Zeppelin frames meant that their trusses consisted of sophisticated aluminum struts where each strut was in turn another truss. The overall effect is of incredible complexity and detail, like a gigantic high-tech whale set in a space that resembles a Piranesi engraving of a dungeon with enormous shafts of sunlight lit by dust. Because of their age, this technological look is combined with distinctly archaic elements, such as the gas bags which were made from thousands of cows' stomachs or the scaffolding and ladders which are wooden and rickety.

Zeppelins under construction

Attempts by architects to create utopian communities usually have one distinguishing feature - they are not utopian and they fail. As such, they make great settings for dystopic fiction, such as the slightly kitsch and creepy Portmeirion in the Kafkaesque Prisoner TV series or Seaside, Florida in the Truman show.Some uptopias have been built and failed, such as Soleri's semi-inhabited Arcosanti and some were only half realized, such as Disney's Progress City, which ended up being watered down as Epcot. But possibly the most insane of all is Le Corbusier's utopian vision for Paris which consisted of bulldozing the city of lights and replacing it with what resembles the worst projects in the South Bronx. It says a lot for the profession that the vision of arguably the world's most famous architect was to destroy what is arguably the world's most beautiful architecture.

9 utopian architectural projects

From Tampa to Dublin to Alicante and Dubai empty condos and villas that were never home to anyone, litter the landscape as a sterile reminder of a party that never was. But perhaps the biggest housing bubble of them all has just been popped – deliberately by the Chinese government who saw that Shanghai and Beijing real estate increases were unsustainable. Over the last month, Beijing housing prices have fallen at a unbelievable 377% annualized rate, possibly heralding part III of the Great recession following the US banking collapse and European sovereign debt crisis.The most dramatic pictures in this collection are of the empty Chinese city of Ordos, which is a piece of government led, speculative development on a scale unimaginable elsewhere. An entire city waiting to be occupied. Ordos is not a failure yet, but if it is, it will be emblematic.

9 ghost towns of the recession

With the notable exception of Apple, America has largely ceased to be a design culture, yet from Art Deco to Mid-Century modern, the US once ruled the world. There is no better example of a quintessentially American product designer than Raymond Loewy, who combined the exuberance of consumer culture with the asceticism of modernism and applied this to elements from pencil sharpeners to locomotives.Like Apples lead designer, Loewy was not from America. He was born in France and travelled to New York after WWI, wearing only his officers uniform and carrying $40. Here are a dozen of our favorite examples of Loewy designs.

12 Classic Raymond Loewy Designs

oobject header image

Wtf is that? #20

May 28th, 2010 link to (permalink)

wtf


A boat that goes in two directions. What could be the purpose of this crazy looking ship? The answer is suitably topical.



5 Responses to “Wtf is that? #20”

  1. Gaijiniji Says:

    Im guessing its for skimming oil from the surface of the sea?

  2. gaijiniji Says:

    Is it for skimming oil from the water surface?

  3. admin Says:

    Yes, that’s exactly what it is.

    What I don’t understand is how is propels itself forward without getting torn apart. I guess it doesn’t have a problem with fuel!

  4. Gaijiniji Says:

    Again this is only a guess but I would say that the mechanism for skimming and sucking in the surface water / oil would relieve a lot of the pressure (IE sucking it in and spewing out the excess water through some kind of vent)? I couldnt imagine it would be particularly fast in any case though! Getting it on location could be two seperate ships bolted together or assembled on site? Im not an engineer so no clue!

    Sorry for the double post!

  5. Jens W Says:

    the ship can be set to a closed position, where the two halfs touch each other. The propel mechanism is in the middle of both halfs.

  6. DanRR Says:

    This is an oil recovery vessel, it sweeps oil from the water surface.
    See this link for a similar ship:
    http://www.havariekommando.de/en/cis/inventory/Spill_response_vessel/Bottsand/index.html

Have you an opinion, used or been to this object or place? Tell us what you like don't like about it, or post any specs/info about it: