Ship leaking oil off New Zealand breaking apart

TAURANGA, New Zealand – A cargo ship that has spilled hundreds of tons of oil since striking a reef off New Zealand’s coast appeared to be breaking up in heavy seas, as its captain faced criminal charges in court Wednesday.

A vertical crack was apparent from the deck to the waterline of the Liberian-flagged Rena, which ran aground Oct. 5 on Astrolabe Reef, 14 miles from Tauranga Harbour on New Zealand’s North Island. About 70 containers have fallen off the deck of the 775-foot vessel as it has listed increasingly in the worsening ocean conditions. via CBSNEWS



2011 Year-End Exhibition

Pratt’s End of Year Exhibition is opening this weekend, featuring work from Crisis Fronts!


May 14-16, 2011, Higgins Hall Lobby,
Opening Reception – Sunday, May 15, 2pm


Michael Dowlatowski + Katherine Kania

Carla Lores + Michael Yarinsky

Tai-li Lee + Hiram Rodriguez

Patrick Donbeck + Scott Segal

CULTURAL CAPITAL _ research final

Michael Dolatowski and Katherine Kania

The objective of our thesis is to create a city-wide campus for the citizens of our city to engage in a public discourse and exchange.  This will be accomplished through a pedestrian infrastructure that will facilitate an infiltration of the archives of New York City in an effort to aggregate these institutions and result in a sense of distributed ownership of the cultural/social capital that they contain. We envision a system that allows for public access to this form of non monetary capital, and by doing so makes the potential gains in all spheres of life greater.  Through a distribution of public spaces and the implantation of connective tissues between them, we can create a system that will trigger transient personal experiences of togetherness and exchange. We need access to the city’s body of knowledge to extend that knowledge into a fluid body that will inhabit un-programmed spaces of the city.

Online universities have physical campuses that are not bound by geography and are capable of reaching a much broader group of consumers, and thus provide a provocative model for our intervention.  These models are often controversial and ethically debatable as they use a set of devices aimed at the accumulation of capital through the exploitation of students/consumers rather than working towards the social value of education.  However, the way in which they accumulate real estate and use it as a means of distributing education and gaining agency is a model that helps clarify our desire to distribute cultural capital within the city through acquisition of new territories as satellites for existing institutions.

We also look to recently-developed car-sharing networks such as Zip Car to define a business model with a set of protocols we want to engage.  These networks take a material entity, challenge its previous mode of operation, and reposition access by subdividing, aggregating, and redistributing agency and perceived ownership in a way that is viable for a growing community.  In a similar way we have begun to define a logic that takes the static body of cultural, educational, and institutional fabric of the city, and redistributes it through a network, making its intangible contents a fluid body that will inhabit the potential of un-built space.  The maximum allowable F.A.R. in New York City is a territory that can be activated to accept this new body and allow it to find its form.  The territories offered by F.A.R. form a virtual landscape in the city that is defined as a limit on the fabric’s capacity to house additional built environments.  This F.A.R. has not been exhausted and its residuals can be conceived as the volume that we want to modulate and distribute taking from the previous stated zip car protocols.

Our goal is to create a space of stimulation, intellectual exchange, delight and wonderment, a space that is engaged and informed by the citizens who use it, facilitating a wider distribution of social/cultural capital and enriching the public discourse.

Hydraul Data-phora/Hyper Data-topia

By Hiram Rodriguez and Tai-Li Lee

Hydraul Data-phora/Hyper Data-topia

Visualized by colorful liquid crystal, sensitive capacitive surfaces, while physically constructed from layers of electronic circuits, silicon layers, fibers optics, hertz, and optimal algorithms, existence of the Internet infrastructure is either imagined as complicated surfaces and algorithms, or incomprehensive signals sparkling and transmitting under some pipes, tunnels or processing agents. Despite keyboards, mouses, touch panels, and bills, Internet is commonly conceived as neither tangible nor responsible – It’s the ultimate abstraction and escape of the physical world.

A soul without body is soulless. Its abstraction and lightness therefore finds no formal and physical conclusion.

We aren’t surfing the web soullessly. Indeed, each soul of our clicks weighs almost seven grams of carbon dioxide. Foretold by the Moores’ Law, with a technical capacity growth rated 1.5 per years, the Internet never ceases its hungry; with expending demands, weight of its infrastructure had already exceeded its environmental responsibility. Data Centers,as one of its most essential elements, consumes hundreds times more electricity than ordinary buildings. In New York City particularly, with a population of eight millions and fifty mega-bytes average bandwidth per person, a total 430 tera-bytes of data is processed each second. Its size equals to entire memory of 359 persons, and its energy consumed is ten times more than a typical nuclear power station in the United States.

On the other side, the rise of network security problems and infiltration agents such as Wikileaks, also questions the necessity of concrete-armed data processing/storage infrastructure such as the AT&T Lone Lines Building at Thomas Street. As its security and efficiency becomes more representational in years, New programmatic relationship between network user and infrastructure is needed.

1. Standardization
By standardizing data center units and reconfiguring them with degree of mobility, infrastructure is able to reach higher performance with less environmental impact.
By distribution data center units, and hybridizing them with existing urban mobile infrastructures, infrastructure is able to form new relationships between information and programs.

2. Hydaulization
By Hydraulic cooling technology, such relationship folds further into different programmatic possibilities. Data center Infrastructure is now filtering waters and reducing its heat-production by distributing hot water to local community and utilizing cooled water for vertical farms/plantation.
By vertical farms/plantation, Data center infrastructure is even able to generate higher efficiency and reduce carbon dioxide level.


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New in Algae Biofuel

The Times reports on recent innovations and development in the field of algae-based carbon sequestering and biofuel.

La Central de Abasto de la Ciudad de México

Recently updated photos and information from La Central de Abasto de la Ciudad de México via Edible Geography the 327 hectare central market of Mexico City. See also Jeos Oreamuno and Nick Garate’s project Supermarketurbanism.