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When did you realize you wanted to work with natural materials to create art?
While I was running a flower shop, putting together bouquets and decoration, I thought I could find a new type of flower by applying a new expression on the flowers themselves. Besides merely making bouquets as presents or table top decoration, I thought it would be possible to capture the beauty in a photograph or video while the flower is changing its shape. It is like slicing out a moment for keeping the beauty eternal...
It took you around six months to prepare for Exobiotanica, one of your most extreme and perhaps best-known projects. Can you tell us a bit about this work?
(Creating) Exobiotanica was a fight against a temperature of minus 60 degree Celsius (-76 degrees Fahrenheit). It is more to show the flowers' beauty, even in a frozen state or even when they are shattered, rather than how to bloom beautifully. It (the art) went into space, so the body had to be chunky and the structure well cemented. Making just an art object was not a goal at all. I needed to choose flowers that can complete to form a good contrast in space.
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar offers some of the clearest, and most spot on, observations about race in America. His words on the current 'controversy' around our national obsession with respecting an outdated anthem are some of the best yet.
The Washington Post shares his entire letter, here is an excerpt:
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One sign of the maturation of American society is the willingness of those in the public eye, especially athletes, to openly take a political stand, even if it could harm their careers. The modern era of athletes speaking out began in 1967 with Muhammad Ali refusing to be drafted to fight other people of color. That year, I joined with football great Jim Brown, basketball legend Bill Russell, Muhammad Ali and other prominent athletes for what was dubbed “The Cleveland Summit.” Together we tried to find ways to help Ali fight for his right of political expression. I don’t know how much we were able to accomplish on a practical level, but seeing black athletes in support of Ali inspired others to speak out. The following year at the 1968 Olympics, African Americans Tommie Smith and John Carlos raised their fists during the medal ceremony as a protest to the treatment of people of color in the United States. In 2014, NBA players LeBron James, Kyrie Irving, Jarrett Jack, Alan Anderson, Deron Williams and Kevin Garnett and NFL players from the Rams and Browns wore “I Can’t Breathe” shirts during warm-ups for a game to protest police killings of unarmed blacks.
What should horrify Americans is not Kaepernick’s choice to remain seated during the national anthem, but that nearly 50 years after Ali was banned from boxing for his stance and Tommie Smith and John Carlos’s raised fists caused public ostracization and numerous death threats, we still need to call attention to the same racial inequities.
Tiki Style by Sven Kirsten Taschen 2015, 192 pages, 4.9 x 6.6 x 0.5 inches (softcover) $10 Buy a copy on Amazon
This little pocket book packs a big punch full of tiki culture with flamboyant images and a fun history. The author Sven A. Kirsten is the go-to guy for everything tiki. He’s the author of the Book of Tiki, which this bite-sized edition pulls from. The book takes you through the origins of tiki in the South Pacific, explains how this island culture worked its way into mainstream Americana, and highlights some of the legends like Don the Beachcomber and Trader Vic.
There’s something about Tikidom that’s just fun. The mugs, the artwork, the cocktails – it’s easy to get wrapped up in the tropical fantasy. Maybe it was growing up in grey and rainy Seattle that made me a sucker for tiki, but I can’t get enough and this book delivers. It’s filled cover to cover with photographs, illustrations, and incredible island imagery. So grab your favorite ceramic mug, pour yourself a Mai-Tai and enjoy this fantastic look at the stylish world of tiki. – JP LeRoux
Note: If you already have The Book of Tiki there won’t be anything new for you here, but I’d highly recommend picking up any of Sven’s other tiki books if you want to learn even more about the culture. Read the rest
A cup of Asskicker coffee supposedly has 5 grams of caffeine, or 80 times the amount in a regular cup of coffee. Can that be right? According to Wikipedia, the median lethal does of caffeine "is estimated to be 150 to 200 milligrams per kilogram of body mass (75–100 cups of coffee for a 70 kilogram adult)." That would mean you'd have a good chance of dropping dead from drinking a cup of Asskicker coffee.
From Oddity Central:
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[Adelaide, Australia's Viscous Coffee owner Steve Benington] says he came up with the idea for the Asskicker when an emergency department nurse asked him for something that would keep her awake and alert for an unexpected night shift. “She consumed her drink over two days and it kept her up for almost three days — I toned it down a little after that and the Asskicker was born,” he recalls. Nowadays, the complex concoction is made with four espresso shots, four 48-hour brewed cold drip ice cubes, 120ml of 10-day brewed cold drip and is finished with four more 48-hour brewed cold drip ice cubes. “Each cold drip ice cube is approximately equivalent of a bit more than two shots of espresso in caffeine,” Benington explains.
Entomologist Justin O. Schmidt has written a book called The Sting of the Wild, about his mission to "compare the impacts of stinging insects on humans, mainly using himself as the gauge." Here's how he poetically describes a few bug stings, based on his own 4-point "Schmidt Pain Scale for Stinging Insects."
Red fire ant (1): "Sharp, sudden, mildly alarming. Like walking across a shag carpet and reaching for the light switch."
Anthophorid bee (1): "Almost pleasant, a lover just bit your earlobe a little too hard."
California carpenter bee (2): "Swift, sharp, and decisive. Your fingertip has been slammed by a car door."
Western yellowjacket (2): "Hot and smoky, almost irreverent. Imagine W.C. Fields extinguishing a cigar on your tongue."
Fierce black polybia wasp: (2.5): "A ritual gone wrong, satanic. The gas lamp in the old church explodes in your face when you light it."
Velvet ant (3): "Explosive and long lasting, you sound insane as you scream. Hot oil from the deep frying spilling over your entire hand."
Florida harvester ant (3): "Bold and unrelenting. Somebody is using a power drill to excavate your ingrown toenail."
Tarantula hawk (4): "Blinding, fierce, shockingly electric. A running hair dryer has just been dropped into your bubble bath."
Bullet ant (4): "Pure, intense, brilliant pain. Like walking over a flaming charcoal with a 3-inch nail embedded in your heel."
Warrior (or armadillo) wasp: "Torture. You are chained in the flow of an active volcano. Why did I start this list?"
If you’re like us, packing and unpacking are two of your least favorite aspects of traveling. Specifically with multi-destination trips, our suitcases usually end in wrinkled clothing, toothpaste stains, and a misplaced deodorant.
The good news is that we've found a suitcase that eliminates the disastrous effects of packing and unpacking: The Rolo Travel Bag ($42.99). You essentially use it just as you would your closet. It comes with four separated mesh pockets that easily store all your stuff (from toiletries down to tiny accessories) and even comes with a 360-degree hanger.
All you have to do is pack what you want to bring, roll the bag up, and hook it up once you arrive for easy access to all your essentials. Plus it's made of waterproof nylon so you don't have to worry about any accidentals spills or unfortunate weather.
This bag is the greatest thing to happen to our travel routines, and we think you'll like it too. The Rolo Travel Bag is even 14% off for a limited time.
Kratom is an herbal supplement that's become popular in recent years in the United States. Kratom users say taking capsules of the powdered herb helps with social anxiety, chronic pain, and post-traumatic stress disorder. On Tuesday, the Drug Enforcement Administration announced that it intends to place two of kratom’s psychoactive chemicals into its list of Schedule I controlled substances, on temporary basis, citing the necessity "to avoid an imminent hazard to public safety."
According to the DEA, substances in Schedule I "are those that have a high potential for abuse, no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States, and a lack of accepted safety for use under medical supervision."
From the DEA's announcement:
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Evidence from poison control centers in the United States also shows that there is an increase in the number of individuals abusing kratom, which contains the main active alkaloids mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine. As such, there has been a steady increase in the reporting of kratom exposures by poison control centers. The American Association of Poison Control Centers identified two exposures to kratom between 2000 and 2005. Additionally, the Texas Poison Center Network (TPCN), which is comprised of six poison centers that service the State of Texas, reported 14 exposures to kratom between January 2009 and September 2013. Between January 2010 and December 2015 U.S. poison centers received 660 calls related to kratom exposure. During this time, there was a tenfold increase in the number of calls received, from 26 in 2010 to 263 in 2015.
A 17-year-old boy in Mexico City has died after reportedly receiving a hickey from his 24-year-old girlfriend. According to physicians, the hickey suction likely caused a blood clot that traveled to his brain, resulting in a deadly stroke. It's rare for a hickey to cause a stroke but it does happen. From WWMT:
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In a 2010 case... reported in a New Zealand Medical Journal where a 44-year-old woman was rushed to the hospital after losing movement in her arm due to a hickey on her neck, Doctors weren't sure why the woman was having a stroke, but then noticed a bruise on her neck and realized the suction on a major artery created a blood clot. According to an interview with the doctor who treated the woman, Dr Teddy Whu, the clot was in the "artery underneath where the hickey was" (and the clot traveled to the woman's heart.)
San Francisco remains almost exactly as unpleasant as normal during the non-event formerly known as the Black Rock Exodus.
A pile of cocaine worth US$55 million was found at a Coca-Cola plant in Signes, France.
"The first elements of the investigation have shown that employees are in no way involved," said regional Coca-Cola president Jean-Denis Malgras.
The 370kg stash of bagged blow was discovered in a shipment of orange juice concentrate from South America.
When first launched at the end of the 19th century, a glass of Coca-Cola was estimated to contain nine milligrams of cocaine. In 1904, the company replaced that ingredient with cocaine-free coca leaf extract. Or at least that's what they tell us.