The Practical Radical

Speed Bump Girl – $15,000 worth of Hype

September 13, 2010
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Speed Bump Girl

Speed kills, and speed is especially dangerous in relation to children. A Canadian organization has recognized this and is working with the École Pauline Johnson Elementary School in West Vancouver, British Columbia to test an innovative way to slow people down.

Dubbed by ABCnews “the Speed Bump Girl“, BCAA Traffic Safety Foundation and Preventable.ca have created a 3D optical illusion of a little girl chasing a  ball on the road in front of the school. There has been a huge outcry online about how this image is absurd and dangerous, with many critics writing that the image could make people slam on the brakes or even swerve off the road.

Unfortunately, what is illusory is Speed Bump Girl’s supposed 3D effect, what is not illusory is the projected $15,000 cost for the project.

I went down to École Pauline Johnson just the other day to check out this project. Please watch my video and see what I found.


One night (and a bit) in Istanbul

August 10, 2010
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Hagia Sophia at Night

Istanbul, August 11, 2010

This is our “great night” that follows our “lazy day” Istanbul. This involved water pipes, ancient mosques, messengers of truth and Turkish delights with friends (oh, and shopping).

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A lazy day in Istanbul

August 8, 2010
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Reflecting in a Funky café I

Istanbul, August 8, 2010

Lee-Anne and I were both lucky enough to get a few hours of wandering around Istanbul, Turkey before we began working on the conference we were invited to speak at. Though we were on about 4 hours sleep, we had a great, yet slow, time. Here are some photos.

Reflecting in a Funky Café II

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Somewhere (way) Over the Rainbow

July 10, 2010
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I am excited by mother nature’s bounty as much as the next gal or guy. Now, I may be more restrained in my response, but the feeling is still there.

Yet, I feel that maybe I need to express myself more forthrightly – let go a bit – give a bit of shout, if not a scream.

A case in point. There’s this guy who saw a double rainbow – one of mother natures true mysteries – close to (but not quite) as amazing as the Northern Lights/Aurora Borealis.

So what? Well it seems that not only were the rainbows amazing, but so was his response. Basically he lost it – in awe – tongue-tied. And for his grand expression of awe, and the videotaping and subsequent release of that video on YouTube, his video went viral, and he started up a whole new business.

Here is the initial video:

Here is the follow-up news story:

and here is his garage band double rainbow song!:

So has does this link to my concern over my diminutive emotions? Well, I saw the same (if we put physics and time aside) damn rainbow in Ecuador 13 years ago!

My way-cool Double Rainbow in Ecuador - 1997

Perhaps if I had the same response I could have been rich! famous! Clearly YouTube did have something to do with it, but perhaps a few copied video tapes, and bam! I’m rich and famous and would be having someone else write silly blog posts like this.

So, I promise from here on in to get in touch with my emotions, my inner awe. Believe me you, you’ll know when I see a double rainbow next time around.

p.s. this is my favorite rainbow song – Israel Kamakawiwo’ole’s Somewhere Over The Rainbow.


Framing Our World – A Photo Collage

June 30, 2010
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This is a collage of photos done for the World Urban Forum in Vancouver in 2006 by KK Law. The photos were part of a larger exhibition focused on the perspective of youth on their city. Enjoy!

Generations of Woodwards

Cottonwood Gardens


Framing Our World – A Photo Collage

June 30, 2010
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This is a photo collage done for the World Urban Forum in Vancouver in 2006. The photos are part of a larger exhibition focused on youth perspective on the urban environment. The photos exhibition was mounted by EYA and UN-HABIAT. Photos done by KK Law.

Generations of Woodwards

From the roof of Woodwards 1

From the roof of Woodwards 2

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“I work with my ears” Petrula Vrontikis, Designer.

June 3, 2010
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Allan Chochinov is a New York-based design network and educator of design students. He spoke at a designers conference recently and gave a presentation titled: First Person Plural: The value of getting it from the horse’s mouth.

He outlines the process that he teaches his students to take to “listen” to their clients so as to get the best designs.

His equation is:

Listen to the client -> Find the “hot/controversial” topic in the field -> Discover the creative edge.

He presents four successful product designs based on this process … great video … take a listen!


Tragedy in Pictures

May 31, 2010
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Photo: Infrogmation

AP Photo

AP Photo/Gerald Herbert

AP Photo/BP PLC

AP Photo/Gerald Herbert

Photo: Infrogmation

Image: Zero-lives

Photo: ctberney

and who other than God can solve this …

Photo: AP/Gerald Herbert

Sorry Mr. Obama, not this time.


Bokeh/暈け or ボケ – Finding Patterns in the Blur

May 13, 2010
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In my description of myself on this blog I describe liking “patterns not lines”. What this means to me is that it is not the obvious – the straight lines – that one looks for to move forward – you have to look deeper and discover that which isn’t so obvious – the patterns.

Bokeh Photography reminds me of that. Bokeh photography refers to the area in the photo which is out of focus yet increases the beauty or mystic of an image. The origin of the word bokeh comes from the Japanese word 暈け or ボケ which translates as blur or haze.

Bokeh strikes me as a great analogy for patterns – looking for that which isn’t in focus – but encloses or emanates from or around a subject. So for example we can take a look two shots of a chainlink fence:

We then can ask – which is more interesting – the one against a slate grey background, or the one in which we think we can see a tree. Clearly, it’s the tree – and the imagining of where that tree is – in an empty lot? does it have anything to do with this picture?


Another example is the picture of this bird by Tony Rowlett – if the picture of it was just in a pond, would it be as interesting?  The fact that it is up against a blurred background means that it stands out more, it doesn’t get lost in an obvious background and leaves you to question and imagine where it is.

I suggest this blur is as important as that which is in focus. It is finding the patterns in the blur, which allows you to explore the possibilities of its context, and what makes that which is in focus all that more valuable.

Some more pictures done by Lee-Anne Ragan added May 19, 2010:

and then a photo by me:


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    Practical things that make me radical

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