Pure Content

Look at more stuff. Think about it harder.
12.20.2002
 Brad

is this what the Pretenders were talking about?

For those of you who don't know what untramartahons are ... an ultramarathon is a race where the competitors run races that are 40, 50, 75, or 100 miles (or more). From February to April of 2003, athletes in England will race 1000 miles in 1000 hours, with the final 26 miles being in the London Marathon. There's more here.

12.19.2002
 fruit

In search for extra funds, the City of Evanston has developed an idea that will provide an unusual source of extra revenue in its debtors. The City passed two ordinances last year denying city services, other than water and emergency services, to individuals who owe the City money. As a result, the City collected more money from debtors during the first four months of the 2002 - 2003 fiscal year (March through June) than during the entire 2001 - 2002 fiscal year.

One ordinance prohibits property owners with city liens on their buildings from selling their properties while in debt. The City has had problems with landloards who violate property standards, but continue to collect rent from tenants. Owners then sell properties rather than making improvements and paying fines to the City.

The second ordinance states that individuals who owe the City of Evanston money for any reason are denied all City services, except water and emergency services, until their debts are paid.

(LAMS)
(New Ideas)

Based on article in September 1, 2002 issue of American City & County, "Financial Management / Ordinances Help City Collect Debts" by Donna Stuckert

 fruit

In search for extra funds, the City of Evanston has developed an idea that will provide an unusual source of extra revenue in its debtors. The City passed two ordinances last year denying city services, other than water and emergency services, to individuals who owe the City money. As a result, the City collected more money from debtors during the first four months of the 2002 - 2003 fiscal year (March through June) than during the entire 2001 - 2002 fiscal year.

One ordinance prohibits property owners with city liens on their buildings from selling their properties while in debt. The City has had problems with landloards who violate property standards, but continue to collect rent from tenants. Owners then sell properties rather than making improvements and paying fines to the City.

The second ordinance states that individuals who owe the City of Evanston money for any reason are denied all City services, except water and emergency services, until their debts are paid.

(LAMS)
(New Ideas)

Based on article in September 1, 2002 issue of American City & County, "Financial Management / Ordinances Help City Collect Debts" by Donna Stuckert

 fruit

Japan's "toilet wars" began in February, 2002, when engineers from Matsushita unveiled a toiled seat that digitally measures the body - fat ratio of a seated user. Inax, another Japanese corporation, counterattacked by creating a toilet that plays any six soundtracks while in use. Other ideas have included toilets that measure body contents, pre-heated toilet seats, and lid-opening voice sensors.

Eplanations for this toilet research include Japan's addiction to any variety of gadgets, but also the companies' desire to increase sales both at home and abroad.

Despite the hype, civil libertarians fear that "smart toilets" will soon be programmed to monitor personal health information from urine and bowel movements. Lawrence Repeta, a director of the Japan Civil Liberties Union, fears that this information, usually confidential during medical examinations, will be available to the public.

Though there is debate, the toilet wars continue to rage and, as a result, new ideas are generated.

(TAIH)
(What if?)

Article from the New York Times, October 8, 2002, entitled "Japanese Masters Get Closer to the Toilet Nirvana" by James Brooke.

 fruit

Garbage may one day be used to power light bulbs and other electrical equipment. Researchers at the University of West England in Bristol have created "microbial fuel cells". These cells are Walkman-sized batteries that house E. coli bacteria. When the bacteria feed, they produce enzymes, which bread down and produce hydrogen. Other chemicals in the battery strip electrons from the hydrogen and generate voltage that can power a circuit.

Researchers have used this battery to power a small robot and a 40-watt bulb. To keep the bulb lit for eight hours, the bacteria must consume about 50 grams of sugar. The researchers are exploring other food sources, including carrots. However, they hope that one day these batteries will run on garbage.

"Innovations: Powerful Use For Refuse", The Week, Vol. 2, Issue 79, 1 Nov. 2002, pg. 21.

(What if)

 fruit

In a study at the Madigan Army Medical Center in Washington state, researchers found that duct tape can be used to remove warts. According to the study, 86% of patients who were treated with duct tape got rid of their warts, which is much better than the 60% whose warts went away after being frozen with liquid nitrogen.

In the test, patients wore duct tape directly on the wart for six days. After removing the tape, they soaked the area in water and filed off the wart with an emery board or pumice stone. Duct tape apparently irritates warts, causing the immune system to attack the growths.

"Health Tip of the Week: Stick It To Warts", The Week, Vol. 2, Issue 79, 1 November 2002, pg. 18.

(What if)

 fruit

Asian shoppers are buying new garments that aim to enhance health, ward off rays, and power electronic equipment. Textile innovation is a growing business around the world, and especially in Asia where consumers are attracted to both New Age gadgets and "Old World naturopathy".

Examples of garments include boxer shorts fabric infused with "yellow earth" to cut odor and improve circulation. "Fragrant suits" appear in such stress-stopping scents as lavendar and peppermint. "Ki" business suits are made with sachets of charcoal and jade powder sewn into the armpits and crotch to block electromagnetic radiation and boost energy.

Companies including DuPont Co., Levi Strauss & Co. and Philips Electronics have invested heavily in everything from anti-wrinkle technology to "textronics", clothes with conductivity that can power cellphones and MP3 players. DuPont is also making clothes that can be detected by global positioning satellites.

For women, Triumph International Ltd. has launched the aloe vera bra and underwear set in Asia, which claims to lubricate the wearer's skin for up to 40 washes. EM Trading Co. also offers the Health Bra, which contains copper-coated fiber inserts to block electromagnetc waves. B.L Korea Co. has created "menstral-pain reducing pants" which contain substances (approved by the Korean Institute of Construction Materials) to relieve pain and improve circulation by emitting infrared rays.

Prystay, Cris and Song, Meeyoung, "Asian Shoppers Like to Buy New Fabrics That Do Stuff", The Wall Street Journal Online, 21 October 2002.

(What if)

 fruit

Pedro Monagas, an electronic engineer in Spain, decided that he needed to understand why his baby son was cried so frequently. He spent three years visiting nurseries and analyzing the crying patters of 100 babies. The result of his work is "Why Cry", a calculator-size gadget that deciphers a baby's crying and tells parents what is wrong.

Sharp electronics manufactures "Why Cry", which contains a microchip that can tell within 20 seconds wheteher a child is hungry, tired, sleepy, uncomfortable, or stressed out, by analyzing the volume, patters, and internvals of crying. The device is 98% accurate, according to clinical tests.

"Innovations: Translating Baby-Speak", The Week, Vol. 2, Issue 79, 1 Nov. 2002, pg. 21.

(Passion) (What if)

12.18.2002
 Sean

pour me a bandage

has anyone seen or tried out the Liquid Bandage? Johnson & Johnson developed the liquied band-aid, which is supposed to eliminate the pain of pulling it off, make it easier to use on bendy places like your knuckles. a few months ago, julie dunn wrote about the bandage in the NYT.

you put a few drops of the liquid bandage on a swab and apply to the cleaned wound. the liquid produces a chemical reaction that quickly forms a clear waterproof film that binds to the skin cells. as your skin replaces itself, the bandage will just rub off.

if they can develop liquid skin, it makes you wonder why they have developed hair that you can spray on? (what if)



 Sean

mixology anthropology 2

is a mixed tape better than a mixed cd? if so, which is a more powerful conveyor of emotion? as a follow up to my previous blog on the University of Hamburg professors who have researched the phenomenon of mixed tapes, i offer you a link to a google translation of a site with more info about these culture scientists' research.

special thanks to Heath and Joe for finding and letting us know about the link.

 Brad

the two towers

It's out now. It's amazing. It's the second installment of JRR Tolkien's masterpiece, The Lord of the Rings. For some reason, I woke up yesterday at 3:00 in the morning and couldn't go back to sleep. The premiere showing was that night, at midnight. The movie's three hours long. So I basically pulled my first all-nighter since college to see this flick. Caveat lector: the following review is heavy on insider awareness of Tolkien's work, and is spoiler-riffic.

Wow. It was incredible. If you're a purist, you'll have issues with elements of the film. Personally, I felt like a lot of the rich emotional connections and backstories that Tolkien establishes are lost. No mention of the Entwives, for example. In the Entmoot, the Ents are much more complacent, and ... well ... the Entmoot ends a little differently than you might expect. And The Rohirrim basically just give Aragorn, Gimli, and Legolas the two horses (Arod and ... the other one). In the books, Tolkien shows that this gift of bred horses is remarkably meaningful. There's also a slightly fabricated romance between Arwen and Aragorn (but I'm over it). And while I'm complaining, I'll just say that the CG on Gollum is a little weak at times. And Treebeard sounds too much like Gimli (John Rhys-Davies (Gimli) provided the voice, so that makes sense).

But that's it, as far as criticism goes. The movie is SO good. The battle scenes are incredible, especially in the Ents' onslaught of Isengard. And, of course, the battle at Helm's Deep is great. Even an ambush of warg-riding orcs (on Theoden's people, en route to Helm's Deep) absolutely rocks. One scene shows Legolas swinging onto the back of Gimli's horse (!) that is beautifully executed. Gandalf's battle with the Balrog is intense (I never really thought about what a zero-gravity (falling) fight scene would be like), but it could have been longer.

In general, the computer animation is great. The computer program that multiplies the Uruk-Hai army to 10,000 members is absolutely phenomenal. The Ents, at times, looked a little jerky, like the abominable snowman from the Island of Misfit Toys. But — all in all — the animation was outstanding. Shoot. The movie en toto is outstanding. Please go see this movie. Now. And if you have a spare ticket, give me a call. I can't wait to see it again.

PS — I want to be the first to point out the connection between Sean Astin and movies about homelands being destroyed by the baddies. Specifically, there's a line in TTT that sounds like it was lifted from an earlier Astin film:

Chunk: Why don't we go home?
Mikey: Home? What home? In a couple more hours it ain't going to be home any more. Come on, guys, this is our time, our last chance to see if there really is any rich stuff. ... (much later) ... don't you realize? The next time we see sky it'll be over another town. The next time you take a test, it'll be in some other school. Our parents, they want the bestest stuff for us. But right now they gotta do what's right for them, 'cause it's their time. Their time, up there. Down here it's our time. It's our time down here. That's all over the second we ride up "Troy's bucket."


In TTT, Merry and Pippin have an exchange where they say something basically along the same lines. Without the "Troy's bucket" part.

 Brad

playshare - Idea Years

We haven't posted the layshares here lately, but we just sent one out this week, and wanted to post it here. If you'd like to receive Playshares (like the one that follows) in your Inbox, send us an e-mail.

The New York Time Magazine published its second annual "Year in Ideas" issue on December 15, 2002. The copy reads "Earth-shattering breakthroughs, eye-popping innovations and minor leaps forward in politics, medicine, warfare, sports, celebrity, gadgetry, sex, snacking and more."

Isn't it interesting that the past two years have being described as "idea years." They might also be described as years in chaos, uncertainty and turmoil - politically, socially, and economically. However "IDEA years" won out.

The fact is this: Ideas come from chaos. Innovations emerge from a mess. Creativity is uncertain.

Last year's chaos created some of the following world-changing notions. Genetically modified saliva for curing bad breath. Homing devices for your kids. Open-source begging — people asking for money on the internet and getting it (AKA "Save Karyn"). A self-cleaning dinner table. Skyscraper escape devices. Stench warfare — making smells so bad the soldiers just go home. And, finally, the video pill — swallow it and it takes pictures of your organs as it travels through your digestive tract.

As we enter into the 3rd annual "idea year," ask yourself these questions: How much of your time do you spend straightening up the mess, instead of seeing what kind of brilliance you can pull out of it? How often do you blame confusion and chaos for interrupting your creative process, instead of seeing them as a necessary part of your idea development? How can uncertainty become your inspiration?

let's play.

 Brad

definitions

"lamstaih," by the way, is Play shorthand for "Look at more stuff. Think about it harder." That's our creative process, condensed. If you're interested in learning more about our creative process, give us a call (804.644.2200) or send us an e-mail (info@lookatmorestuff.com) and ask us about our next open enrollment Creativity Training session, Feb. 11 and 12. We'll address tools, exercises and processes for creative thinking, and cover things like "the Four M's" and "I>C>I" and the tenets of creativity. And, of course, we'll lamstaih like crazy.

12.17.2002
 Sean

art after death

what better way to spicen up your average museum exhibit than a voice from the dead? reacting to miserable museum audio tours that make often bizarre and unsubstantial claims about the character and intentions of dead artists, the two person duo known as Archive began the "Art After Death" project. Archive hires some psychics to contact dead artists for the purposes of an interview. the interviews are then made into an audio tour to accompany art exhibitions.

Shelley Marlow reports in the Dec/Jan 02-03 issue of Shout, that the Art After Death project was first presented as an audio tour in front of a Joseph Cornell art work at the last Whitney Biennial. in addition to Cornell, French artist Yves Klein (40 yrs gone) and the Countess of Castiglione (gone 103 yrs) have been interviewed.

to ensure against phony channellings, only obscure dead artists are contacted, in order to ensure that the psychics they use are not familiar with their subjects. to learn more head to the Archive site. (lamstaih) (what if)

12.16.2002
 Sean

mixology anthropology

in 1999, i put together a Christmas tape that wove together the themes of Christmas, Latin America, and the promise of atomic energy. such is the magic of the homemade music compilation.

in its June 2002 issue, MOJO magazine reported that two researchers from Hamburg University's Ethnological Institute recently conducted research on the compilation tape. the two researchers analysed nearly 150 mix tapes that were collected from about a hundred people, including an 80-year old man who at the age of 70 started to doing tapes after his handwriting deteriorated. here are a few of their discoveries:



what are some of the best themes you've encountered for a mix? what was the best mix you've ever made?
(lamstaih)




12.15.2002
 fruit

The Style Invitational....With the promise of fabulous prizes, today's Washington Post challenges readers to take any product and explain how it would be different if it were designed by a different existing company. For example....What would happen if Microsoft designed cars? Take the challenge Pure Content readers.--R. Schaffer

who / what / why

At Play we create brands, strategies, new products, and better cultures for Fortune 100 companies. Our formula for creativity: "Look at more stuff. Think about it harder." Pure Content is one place where we do that, daily.

the cool kids' table

Ben Domenech
(politics, football, and a boatload of know-how)

Creative Generalist
(if Pure Content had a doppelganger ...)

Heath Row
(punk + business
+ creativity = Heath)

search

go go gadget google:



stuck in an airport

architecture
A Pattern Language

business
Creative Company
Orbiting the Giant Hairball
The Ultimate Book of Business Creativity

life
The Little Prince

philosophy
Wittgenstein's Poker

physics
The Dancing Wu Li Masters

sociology
The Tipping Point

new to you

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see our neighbors
Comments by: YACCS