BMW’s Flash Image Ad – A Hit? A Miss? Subliminal?

In Germany a few weeks ago, BMW tried something pretty interesting – a quick flash image in a commercial that leaves a ghosted after-image of the company’s logo in the viewer’s eyes.  Check out the video first:

What they did to achieve this effect was to place a very powerful flash generator, the ProFoto Pro-7-B, behind a big card that had the letters “BMW” cut into it.  At one point, the motorcyclist in the video tells the audience to close their eyes – and *poof* – the letters magically appear in the darkness behind the audience’s eyelids.

What would we call this, “Retinal Advertising?”

Pretty interesting, huh?  I mean, I think it’s a pretty neat way to add some magic to an advertisement.  However, as we live in the United States (or as I like to call it, the Land of Litigious Ideals), I think Wired Mag put it pretty close to accurate:

As you can see from the cinema-goers’ reactions, the smoke-and-mirrors gimmick went down well.  I can’t imagine this working in the U.S, though.  None of the teenagers would see it, as they’re all texting and chatting on their phones, and somebody, somewhere, would decide to sue the theater for triggering an epileptic fit.

Sigh.

Well, an artist can dream!

Did You See the Lunar Eclipse?

That’s right, we had a lunar eclipse last night!  Most news organizations were touting the eclipse, since it’s the only one we’ve had since Galileo Galilei was actually in JAIL for claiming the world was round!  Ah, the intelligence of the ignorant.

So anywho – check out some images of the eclipse – it was pretty hard to see from where I was, as we had some cloud cover.

23° 26'

Tioga County - The moon (12/19) in anticipation of the 12/20 lunar eclipse

A Pre-Christmas Treat

IMG_8413x

and perhaps another treat – for those of us amateur photogs trying to capture the moon, a “photographing the moon” guide from Shoot Tokyo!

Happy Birthday, Sir Humphry Davy!

This is the freaking BIRTHDAY DAY, apparently!

Look who just wandered up – SIR HUMPHRY DAVY!  Check out that coiff – HAPPY BIRTHDAY, Sir Humphry Davy (17 December 1778 – 29 May 1829)!

Sir Humphry Davy was one cool customer – and a smart dude who really revolutionized the way we think about chemistry and electricity.  In addition to discovering some of the alkaline earth metals [beryllium (Be), magnesium (Mg), calcium (Ca), strontium (Sr), barium (Ba) and radium (Ra)] along with other departures from accepted discoveries and inventions at the time, including the first electric light in 1809.

SUCK ON THAT, Edison and Swan!  If Davy were still alive, he’d be perfectly right in giving you both the big 18th Century middle finger!

Davy did all kinds of experimentation of the time, including lots and lots of experimentation with Nitrous Oxide (Laughing Gas), and Davy was unfortunately a nitrous oxide addict.  As you can imagine, he did tons of experiments with the gas, at times really messing himself up.  Funny enough, Davy had suggested that Nitrous Oxide be used as an anesthetic, but his suggestion was ignored.  Many nobles and highfalutin’ society people used to have big parties where they all sat around huffing Nitrous Oxide.  What a crazy party!

One of Humphry Davy’s big inventions was the Davy Lamp – a coal miner’s light that was a heck of a lot safer than some of the other fire-based lamps of the time:

Davy’s lamp was special because it had an iron mesh around the flame, which prevented methane from the flame from dissipating into the mines, causing explosions with coal dust once the methane ignited.  However, in the crappy wet conditions of the coal mines of the time, Davy’s iron mesh would rust, causing diminished light and another explosion hazard.  At the same time Davy was working on his safety lamp, another inventor, George Stephenson (also known as th Father of the Locomotive) was working on a design that used a glass cover instead of a mesh one.  Davy, who claimed that Stephenson stole his design, was pretty angry about this whole deal, and even though Stephenson was exonerated by a court, Davy was pretty upset about this to his death.

Another awesome thing that happened with Davy’s help was the introduction of Michael Faraday into the scientific community.  Davy was performing an experiment on the highly reactive compound Nitrogen Trichloride, and it blew up in his face, literally.  Davy damaged his eyesight in this experiment – and because of his now new disability, he hired the young Michael Faraday to assist him in the laboratory.  Thus, Davy welcomed Faraday into the international scientific community.  It’s even said that Davy’s greatest experiment in science was Michael Faraday.  Pretty awesome, huh?

Davy did a lot of work with electrolysis, which is the separation of material using DC current.  Using a voltaic pile, Davy (and Faraday, who furthered Davy’s work after his death) discovered many metals and elements, including Calcium, Sodium, Potassium, and Chlorine.  A scientist named Wilhelm Scheele is originally credited with some of these discoveries, but could never publish his findings.

(HEY JIM – WHAT’S A VOLTAIC PILE?)

This voltaic pile thing is actually pretty cool – invented by Alessandro Volta, it’s the first battery!

Well, HAPPY BIRTHDAY, Sir Humphry Davy!  Thanks for all o your discoveries!

Thanks Wikipedia, NNDB, ChemHeritage, and About!

Happy Birthday, Arthur E. Kennelly!

WHOA!  Is that —  is that Arthur E. Kennelly?!  DUDE!  HAPPY BIRTHDAY, Arthur E. Kennelly (17 December 1861-18 June 1939)!

What a crazy mustache, mandingo!

Arthur E. Kennelly was a self-taught physicist, which is pretty awesome among itself.  Art started off his career as an office boy for the Institution of Electrical Engineers (IEEE) when he was in his teenage years – which I am assuming sparked the love of voltage and electrons.  I mean, I gotta believe that Arty-Boy here was a pretty smart dude, and growing into his own around the people that were shaping the Electrical Engineering world at the time was good for him.  After all, education back in the 1880’s was probably a sight better than it is now.  What a shame, huh?

After working for the Institute for Electrical Engineers, Art worked as a telegraph operator for a little while, and then he met Thomas Alva Edison, who hired him as one of his Mucker electricians.  From 1894 and 1901, Kennelly was a consulting engineer for Edison General Electric Company of New York – Kennelly and a guy named Harold P. Brown then worked as a team that invented an alternating current version of the Electric Chair.  Yep.  All because Edison wanted to show how dangerous Westinghouse’s alternating current really was.

At least Art went on to make more contributions to science.

After his time at Edison’s place, Kennelly formed Houston and Kennelly in Philadelphia with Edwin J. Houston.  In 1902, the government of Mexico retained Houston and Kennelly to oversee the laying of the Veracruz-Frontera-Campeche cables.

Kennelly also dabbled in academia — as a Professor of Electrical Engineering both at Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and as a research associate at the Carnegie-Mellon Institute.  Kennelly was said to be an awesome teacher too – from a biography of his life and work:

All who were his students remember him as a remarkable teacher, whose clarity and precision of expression made smooth the path of those struggling with the often abstruse intricacies of electrical phenomena. Moreover, there was always a bit of humor to relieve the tedium.

Pretty cool.  A teacher who was smart AND funny?  LAWS YES!

Arty Boy did a lot with complex analysis of electrical theory and study.  Have you ever heard of the E-Region in the Ionosphere?  It used to be called the Kennelly Heaviside Layer, after him and a guy named Oliver Heaviside.  It’s the region of the ionosphere that reflects medium-strength radio waves, allowing them to be propagated past the horizon.  He also holds (or held, rather) patents on the Electric Meter and the Electrostatic Voltmeter.

Kennelly wrote a LOT of material, including the famous paper entitled “Impedance,” which he developed after applying some complex math to Ohm’s calculations.  I think I want to buy Kennelly a beer.  Wait, no, he’s dead.

Happy Birthday, Arthur E. Kennelly!  You are truly one of the not-quite-publicized-yet-ridiculously-important members of Electric History.

Thanks EOEarth, NNDB, IEEE, and Wikipedia!

Jefferson Waful – Lighting Designer, Funny Man, and HEY THEY’RE PLAYING STEVE MILLER?!

A guy who I’ve gotten to know a bit and seen him work hands-on with the music – Jeff Waful.  You knows know Jeff as the lighting designer for Umphrey’s McGee, and he’s been tearing faces off with his light artistry for the last while now.  I just got a tip that Jeff did some work with Umphrey’s at the Warren Haynes Christmas Jam in Asheville, NC just a few nights ago – and there was of course a video camera.

Check out the results!  From the Umphrey’s McGee Production blog, The Floor:

I Have No Idea Where I Found This, But It is Awesome.

Holy crap.  Have you got a few minutes to watch this video?

Do you have some speakers or headphones you can turn on to hear the music associated with the video?

Ok, GO:

Crazy!

About the video:

In Pissenlit, the materials repeatedly self-duplicate, reintegrate and rearrange. These replications, stemming from the original, undergo continuous transformation as units that branch out into infinite variations.
With Pissenlit we tried to show the regularity existing in these seemingly irregular fluctuations, which in time form into a fractural “ring”.

Created by Tsutomu Miyajima, Kouhei Nakama
Music by Jemapur

http://www.wowid.jp

Cree’s LMR-4 Modular LED

I have been so busy and accumulated so much content lately that I find myself playing catch up with some pretty great footage and images!

One such bunch of stuff is from LightFair 2010 in Las Vegas.  Tom Roberts gave me a pretty great introduction to Cree’s LMR-4 modular LED product.  I finally got the video cut together – check it out!  What a cool product!

And an update – Ginny from Cree made the following video about the LMR-4, which I recommend watching!

Ben Slayter’s Flaming Lips Opener Video from Bonnaroo 2010

Have you ever seen the Flaming Lips in concert?  If you have, then you certainly know what kind of an experience it’s going to be – it’s pretty much indescribably awesome.  If you were to take a hug and flying rainbow unicorns and cotton candy and “the brown acid” and the original Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory and blend them all together, that might be somewhere close to it, but still not really close to describing it.

I saw the Lips, with opener Matisyahu, whose performance (and lighting designer) was OUTSTANDING.  So awesome.

My pal Ben Slayter (you might know him as @SlayterCreative on Twitter) shot some video of the big Flaming Lips show at Bonnaroo 2010, and it’s gotten some good press.  Check out this video!

I’m jealous.  Good video, Ben!

If you haven’t heard of The Flaming Lips, then please dear god and baby jesus go check some out!