Many autistics have trouble with abstract reasoning and visual memory, which makes the game of chess particularly challenging. These Naef Bauhaus chess pieces, Designed by Josef Hartwig in 1923, are literal representations of their allowed moves (for example, the bishop is X-shaped, since it can only move diagonally). This design allows players to focus more on strategy, and less on retaining possible moves in visual memory; a feature particularly helpful to autistics. Chess board sold separately.
Vectors of Autism, a documentary starring autism advocate and artist Laura Nagle (herself autistic) won the ‘Heart of the Festival’ award at the Sedona International Film Festival last month. The film covers her experience living with autism, and also examines the issue of ‘neurodiversity’, how greater public understanding and acceptance of differences in cognition could help in the social integration of autistic persons. View clips from the movie here.
This documentary is a visual and aural feast that both entertains and educates about autism in adulthood, with stunning drawings and watercolors by Laura Nagle, creative animation and original music by Jen Turrell and Stewart Anderson. Laura’s artwork presents a unique visual perspective, which can be a metaphor for a different way of seeing. The theme song “Vectors of Laura” adds to the depiction of her experience of autism using a mathematical concept, which is another way of experiencing common to many on the autism spectrum. [quote from lauranagle.net]
We are a generation that has forgotten to re-use, repair and recycle. Don’t throw away old tools, bikes, etc, just because they’re rusty. Metallic waste ends up in landfills, doesn’t generally bio-degrade, and isn’t good for the environment. Today’s Good Design Award (if we had one) goes to Quick-Glo, the miracle rust remover that your grand-dad swears by. The following video review is courtesy of Jay Leno’s Garage.
3D printing is advancing at the same rapid pace as the Internet did twenty years ago. As with the Internet, the ramifications are difficult to predict. It’s now possible to print key components of an automatic rifle in your own home. Pretty soon, you’ll be able to print an entire rifle (or any mid-size complex metal or plastic object, even clothes made with sintered artificial fibres). No more factories, no more import-export of finished goods, economics textbooks will have to be re-written. There are only two ways this can go: towards greater personal freedom and creativity, or greater centralised surveillance, regulation and control. Place your bets now.
This could be big. The world is facing a water crunch, at least when it comes to the stuff we can drink. Salt water covers 80% of the planet, but making it potable costs a bundle in energy; either to boil seawater (to release freshwater steam) or force it through inefficient filters to remove impurities. So far, only rich countries like Saudi Arabia or Singapore can afford desalination plants to do the job. That could change. Some years ago, researchers at Manchester University discovered they could create layers of Graphite only one atom thin, called Graphene. Scientists at MIT then discovered that Graphene is potentially a highly efficient water filter, one that requires very little energy to force the water through. This could mean that poorer countries will be able to afford desalination plants, which could in turn convert large arid regions into fertile farmland.