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WEEKLY EMAIL: DECEMBER 10, 2009


In Praise of Shadows

FEATURED THIS WEEK : JANE WITHERS

In Praise of Shadows

Historians list 22 inventors of incandescent lamps prior to Thomas Edison's commercially viable version. Yet despite the pace of technological change, surely debate surrounding lighting and energy should go beyond geeky discussions about technologies and bulbs? It should be a chance to explore new thinking not just about lighting and sustainability but about the quality of light, and to challenge the modern obsession with brightness that has held sway for over a century.
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OBSERVATORY : THE EDITORS

Holiday Books 2009

For this holiday season, Design Observer's contributing writers offer some recommendations for gifts and personal reading.
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PLACES : WILLIAM W. BRAHAM

How Much Does Your Household Weigh?

How much does your house weigh? Decades ago Buckminster Fuller formulated this question as a challenge to homebuilders to assess the environmental impacts of constructing — and heating, cooling, plumbing, furnishing, inhabiting, etc. — a house. Architect and educator William Braham now updates this question, teasing out the complex calculations that will be required even to begin to comprehend the ecological footprint of an architectural design. 
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CHANGE OBSERVER : JONATHAN SCHULTZ

EyeWriter

Tony Quan, aka Tempt One, is bed-ridden with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. He has no use of his arms or legs, cannot speak and breathes with respirator assistance. His mind, however, still burns with an artist's intractable desire for expression.
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CHANGE OBSERVER : JULIE LASKY

CO2 CUBES

While delegates from 200 nations meet in Copenhagen to defuse the time bomb of catastrophic climate change, a multimedia art installation floats on a barge near the Tycho Brahe Planetarium to remind participants and onlookers of how much damage is in the air.
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OBSERVATORY : OWEN EDWARDS

Busted by Colombo, or, the Impediments of Style

The restrained high style of the ad men in Mad Men has revived a painful memory of one of my life-changing moments.

In the mid-sixties I worked as a press rep for CBS-TV in New York. Though low on a steep vertical hierarchy, I felt I had the kind of dream job I'd seen in movies like The Hucksters and Sabrina — an office (windowless) in the CBS building on Sixth Avenue, a good salary at a time when a floor through apartment on a nice street in Greenwich Village cost me $125 a month, and a charge account at Brooks Brothers that I worked like a farmer works good black loam.

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PLACES : MARK KLETT

Placing Memory

On the morning of December 7, 1941 — 68 years ago today — the Japanese navy attacked the United States' base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, triggering the U.S. declaration of war against Japan and entry into World War II. Soon after the federal government implemented a program that was even then controversial and has since been condemned as racist and unconstitutional: the forced relocation of U.S. citizens of Japanese ancestry to internment camps located throughout the West. Placing Memory mixes contemporary color photographs of the abandoned camps, by photographer Todd Stewart, with period black-and-white, government-commissioned images documenting the life of the internees. In his review, photographer and Places contributing editor Mark Klett describes the juxtaposition as poignant and provocative — a timely reminder of a troubling history, given current fears of domestic terrorism. 
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OBSERVATORY : ERIC BAKER

Today, 12.05.09

Here are Today's images.
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CHANGE OBSERVER : JENNIFER EHRENBERG

Chicago Welcomes You

How to redesign a resettlement process for immigrants who may never have seen a streetlight, cooked on a stove, used a toilet that isn't a hole in the ground or handled any type of currency.
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Audio: Design Matters Archive

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Stefan Bucher

Stefan Bucher is a graphic designer, illustrator and author, and creator of the Daily Monster.
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CHANGE OBSERVER: PROJECT ARCHIVE

Project

PACT Underwear

Report on PACT, an underwear company that embraces green manufacturing and donates a portion of its revenue to nonprofits.
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OBSERVATORY ARCHIVE

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PLACES ARCHIVE: SPRING 2005

Superneighborhood 27: A Brief History of Change

From hot tubs to bodegas: a Houston subdivision built for the '60s singles lifestyle has found new energy as a multi-ethnic neighborhood.
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Change Observer

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