Forest Grove


These people filmed an adaptation of John Cheever’s sort story, The Swimmer, using still photography and models of a fictitious community named Forest Grove Estates.

Forest Grove was inspired by a trip to Texas. During the initial approach into the San Antonio airport, the view from the sky was of hundreds of new homes winding their way around cul de sacs. In some areas the homes were not even finished and the cul de sac sat empty, surrounded by dirt. In other areas each new home was dotted with its own glistening blue swimming pool, like markers on a map. The image brought to mind John Cheever’s short story The Swimmer. But it wasn’t until Maya visited an exclusive, high security, gated community that same weekend that the story came together.

To emphasize the spatial experience of living in a gated community the set for the story is an architect’s model of Forest Grove. The model is approximately 8ft. x 12ft. and includes 36 houses, 12 swimming pools, a community center, and a guards station, as well as the single road that leads out of the community and straight to the shopping mall. Still photographs were taken of miniature styrene plastic people enacting the scenes and then edited/animated (with the use of Flash) to create a complete story which is accessible online.

(via We Make Money Not Art)

Beating Traffic


This guy analyzed
a year’s worth of commuting data to see how he could minimize the time he spent driving to and from work.

Tired of the typically inefficient and contradictory workplace chatter on the subject and feeling the pull of a slight worksheet obsession, I set out to statistically analyze my commute in order to determine how I might minimize my time behind the wheel. If there was a way to figure out how to give myself an advantage over the almost 900,000 other Houstonian workers out there (who average a 26.1 minute commute),7 math and a smidgeon of obsessive compulsive disorder had to be essential ingredients. At the very least, I would be able to ascertain just how much of my commute time was up to me – and how much depended on a “higher power” (e.g., weather, school districts, wrecks, etc.).

Religious Affiliation of History’s 100 Most Influential People


The following list of influential figures from world history comes from Michael H. Hart’s book The 100: A Ranking of the Most Influential Persons in History. In the book, Hart provides brief biographies of each of the individuals, as well as reasons for their ranking. takes no position regarding the validity of Hart’s rankings. Certainly ranking the relative historical influence of individuals is a subjective process. We welcome and will by happy to post comments from readers suggesting alternative rankings or names of influential individuals who should be included in the “Top 100.” (Please send suggestions to

This list of names and their ranks are solely the work of Michael H. Hart. The columns “Religious Affiliation” and “Influence” are the work of We will readily modify notes if there are any inaccuracies.

(via Kottke)

Animal Sounds in Different Languages

In different languages what do we say to mimic animal sounds? Below is the world’s biggest multilingual list. A guiding principle behind this list is to visualise a comic book, in your language, and imagine what would be written in the text balloon coming from the mouth of an animal. For languages that use a different alphabet, I have tried to transliterate the word into the English alphabet for ease of comparison.

Super Soaker Mods


When one’s quest for power can’t find ends in modifying, there always is one more option, building your own water gun! This way you can tailor it to your own specifications and get exactly what you want. Typically made from PVC, homemades are the future of powerful water weapons. We’ve got you covered here at SSCentral, step-by-step guides loaded with pictures and detailed statistics of each gun. Remember, always use any powerful water gun with caution, and read the Legal Info page.

Pictured above is the “Havoc” which is supposedly capable of shooting a water balloon about 100 yards.
(via Make:Blog)

The Other Hawai’i


The Northwestern Hawaiian Islands coral reef ecosystem extends approximately 1,250 miles and
encompasses an area of 131,800 square miles. The region hosts more than 7,000 species, including marine mammals, fishes, sea turtles, birds and invertebrates.

At least one quarter of them are found nowhere else. As part of its
educational mission, the voyaging canoe Hokule’a will sail
among the islands and atolls this month, taking part
in restoration and transmitting news and
information about the trip to
Hawai’i’s school children.

Hokule’a’s journey will be conducted in
much the same way as its earlier voyages –
with daily Web site updates and radio links to schools
and museums. The canoe will use modern Dacron sails
instead of traditional sails. And during part of
the voyage, particularly around the dangerous sealanes near the Maro
Reef, traditional wayfinding will give way to modern navigation instruments.

(via Plep)

The Galileo Project


The Galileo Project is a source of information on the life and work of Galileo Galilei (1564-1642). Our aim is to provide hypertextual information about Galileo and the science of his time to viewers of all ages and levels of expertise. What you read and see here is a beginning — we will continue to add and update information as it becomes available. We solicit contributions from our colleagues in the history of science and comments on how we can improve the project from everyone, particularly suggestions on how to make this tool more useful in primary and secondary education.