Architectural Projection Mapping

Top Men and Top Women are enamored by projection mapping, and we managed to catch the Holiday show at Saks Fifth Ave (NYC) last week.

Architectural Projection Mapping is all about shining a projector on the side of a building and blurring the line between what is the building and what is projected. It’s been around for a few years, but in case you haven’t heard of it here are a few of the better samples we could find.


Holiday 2011 Saks Fifth Avenue. Relatively simple but effective – the highlights are the windows lighting up and opening and the snow on the window sills.


A celebration in Ukraine – great lighting effects in the beginning demonstrating how virtual spotlights can be placed and moved anywhere.

This sample is amazing, but almost over the top – so much going on on.


This example was an ad for the movie “The Tourist”, but it had some fun building augmenting effects.

Here’s a homemade version for Halloween – it’s not just for the big boys.

(Note: There are other impressive examples available, but some of them are full CG simulations that are not actual projections – let the viewer beware.)

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Earth Ups and Downs

Jeff Bezos (the Amazon guy) has a top secret rocket ship that didn’t crash in this test flight.

Top Men are still a bit foggy about how vertical takeoff and landing can be efficient, but we suppose it has something to do with keeping those expensive engines intact for the next go-around. Just seems like there has to be a better way to bring ‘em down softly.

But we have to admit it just looks like the future.

  • Here is a Wired article.

(Via Neville Ridley-Smith on G+)

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Mars Ups and Downs

It’s a magic time of the year. No, not the silly holiday stuff. We’re talking about when the orbit of Mars brings it practically within spittin’ distance of Earth. So if you’re going to Mars, November was the month to do it. It just so happens that two missions were planned – Phobos-Grunt and Mars Science Laboratory (MSL).

But as Top Men have mentioned before, getting to Mars is tough. Russia’s (and China’s) Phobos-Grunt mission has (so far) not made it out of low earth orbit, and within a couple months the 13 metric ton craft (including 7.5 metric tons of hydrazine fuel) will fall not-so-gracefully back to earth. (Top Women have suggested that a conspiracy version of this story would make a thrilling novel.)

NASA’s MSL mission has had better luck so far. MSL (and the Curiosity Rover) successfully left Earth orbit and is on the way to an August arrival on Mars. Curiosity is a huge, plutonium powered rover – much larger than any of the previous rovers. And it’s packing HD video as well as some brand-spanking new laboratory devices to continue the search for life on Mars. Oh, and the landing promises to be pretty amazing, too.

Top Men will keep you updated. Go back to your drivel.

  • Here is an 11 minute HD animation of the MSL mission.
  • Here is an 11 minute animation of the Phobos-Grunt mission.
  • Here is an HD video of the MSL launch.
  • Here is an HD video of the MSL leaving earth behind.

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Russian Bunker Lunker

Gotta love the cold war… nuclear attack drills, iron curtains, mutually assured destruction, “Russians”, ICBMs, and (getting to the point) bunkers! Big, bad, deep, smelly, bunkers. This bunker hidden 60 meters below the streets in Moscow certainly fills the bill. Built in the 1950′s, sold at auction in 2006, it’s now open to the public, and serves as a cold war museum. This just makes Top Men want to see the bunkers we don’t know about.

  • Here is a site (Russian) with lots of photos. (Translation to English – if it works.)
  • Here is a brief YouTube video.
  • Here is more info from the Moscow Times.

(Thanks Brice)

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Antarctic Icicle

Topmen are easily fascinated. (Perhaps that’s why Wohba isn’t updated these days.)

Take, for example, the boundary between Earth’s gaseous and liquid components – the line between air and water. It’s an amazingly distinct border between worlds that humans actually love to recreate around – surfing, swimming, boating, snorkeling, wake boarding, cliff diving, deadliest catching, etc. But the gaseous layer and liquid layer have dramatic effects on each other that result in spectacular phenomena on our side of the fence – clouds being perhaps the most taken for granted.

But there are more exotic border breaches as well, and one particular case is especially interesting – brinicles. Brinicles occur when the temperature in the air is amazingly cold, and the currents in the water are amazingly calm. Extremely cold, dense brine sinks downward from the surface, freezing the relatively fresh seawater around it – resulting in an underwater icicle that (like most slow forming phenomena) looks even better when speeded up.

Some crazy BBC divers/cameramen have done just that…

Here is the video and more info.

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Seventh Annual Tribute to Corn

Okay, so Wohba at least has a heartbeat… barely. We sure hope to pick things up again in the near future. As a sign of life Top Men will celebrate this years Tribute To Corn. (Can’t believe we missed a year – we’ll have to get to last years at some point in the future.)

Top Men (and Top Women) are not fans of plastic – well, except for its remarkable ability to make everyday life easier, less costly, and more convenient. It’s just those icky (technical term) side-effects (proven, and not yet proven) that give us reason to pause.

Corn to the rescue.

Corn plastic seems like a good compromise — non-breakable, cheap, moldable, non-toxic (so far), and just add butter and salt for a tasty treat. Alas, it seems like one of those “Popular” inventions that show up on the cover of “Popular” magazines and never make it to the teeming masses; like flying cars, jet packs, steaks-in-a-pill, trips to the moon for everyone, robot cooks, personal laser weapons, etc. (We’re still crossing our top fingers for a least a few of those.)

Watch the video here.

Re-Lectron

Top Men were once Top Boys. One of the toys (and we use that word loosely) that shaped us was Lectron – an electronic construction set.

Electronic construction sets have come and gone over the years, but this one was amazing. Simple, white blocks with the components hidden inside – magnetically snapped together to build all the usual circuits: alarms, blinkers, organs, radios, etc. The difference was how clean and elegant the results were. Not a bunch of wires snapped to springs, across unused elements – or glaring primary colored parts strung together like an explosion in a candy factory. Lectron projects looked like simple schematics – schematics that actually worked.

Lectron sets are still being produced in Germany. They’ve even evolved over the years to include newer digital components. But since there is no foreign distribution it takes some knowledge of German and Euros to get them. I suppose Top Men must now add “learn German” to our list of things to do.

Wir müssen zu beschaffen Lectron!

Here are a great collection of photos of some large Lectron sets.
Here is an article from 1967 Electronics Illustrated.
Here is the current Lectron web site. (Here is the english version via Google Translate.)
Here is an ad from Life Magazine in 1968.

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