I reflected today on the fact that my four-year-old makes a "click" sound when she's playing with a toy camera because that's the MP3 that my phone plays when I take her picture. A number of people pointed out that this is an example of a skeuomorph, "a derivative object that retains ornamental design cues to a structure that was necessary in the original." The Wikipedia entry on the subject's fascinating in the extreme:
* Decorative stone features of Greek temples such as mutules, guttae, and modillions that are derived from true structural/functional features of the early wooden temples
Ornamental pylons framing modern bridges, such as the twin 89 metre pylons at each end of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. They do not support anything, and are there only to frame the structure itself and make it look more like a traditional bridge.
An early pottery butter churn, at the Jaffa Museum, shaped rather like an American football, imitating the shape of its predecessors, which were made of hide.
Injection-molded plastic sandals that replicate woven strips of leather
Artificial film grain added to digitally-shot movies to give a softer, more expensive effect and the expected "shimmer" of the grain pattern between successive frames
Various spoke patterns in automobile hubcaps and wheels leftover from carriage wheel construction
(Image: Chevy Volt Skeuomorph, a Creative Commons Attribution (2.0) image from tylerbell's photostream)
NHK’s children’s show Pythagora Switch features fiendishly clever, astoundingly amusing interstitial segments with beautiful little Rube Goldberg machines, possessed of a Miyazakiesque whimsy and a Mujiesque minimalism. These are wonderful — and at 30 seconds each, you can watch a whole ton of ’em.
When I saw that the cell phone designed for rectal smuggling was called “Beat the Boss,” I assumed “The Boss” was a synonym for “The Man,” but it turns out it’s a reference to a specific product: Xeku’s Body Orifice Security Scanner (BOSS), a “hygienic cavity search” chair that scans prisoners for rectal contraband.
The “Beat the Boss phone” is an £27 micro-telephone built into a Bluetooth headset with only trace amounts of metal in its construction; it is lozenge-shaped and is designed to be rectally smuggled into prisons, jails and courtrooms.
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