“Capability Brown” has been one our most prolific tipsters. Always answering our open call for anything remotely related to landscape architecture, he recently directed us to the Wired blog Gadget Lab, specifically to this entry about a DIY “device that will charge your USB-capable devices while you do what you do best. Breathe. Using some parts scavenged from an old CD-ROM drive, a simple electronic circuit, and a few rubber bands you will soon be huffing and puffing your way to fully-charged pseudo-useful electronic gadget nirvana.”
Reviewing the links he's sent us over the past year, we've noticed, to our astonishment, that however unrelated they seem to be, they blend together into a very intriguing landscape idea.
To illustrate, we'll begin by saying that “Capability Brown” likes to send us information on piezoelectricity after seeing how interested we are in the material as an alternative, human-generated energy source. We're slowly investigating the websites on his list.
Possibly anticipating us dreaming about a wearable power charger tailored from flexible piezoelectric membrane, “Capability Brown” alerted us a few of months ago to the launch of H-Bomb, purportedly the world's first power heated wetsuit from Rip Curl. The heat, which you can crank up to 65°C (150°F), is generated by two Polymer Lithium Ion batteries.
“These are the same batteries found in your mobile phone, ipod and laptop computer,” we learn. “There is no danger of exposure to these batteries by radiation, electric shock or explosion – even if it is called the Bomb! The batteries weigh 0.12kg each and are positioned on your lower back where they are cushioned against your body by a layer of neoprene sponge so you can't feel them.”
You will be able to recharge the batteries in the The H-Bomb2.
While the thought of surfing somewhere in the Arctic Circle sounds incredibly adventuresome, we prefer deep-sea diving to splashing about on the beach, and trying out our piezo-wetsuits somewhere with a better selection of flora and fauna. Correctly guessing our wish, “Capability Brown” e-mailed us this BBC News article on the discovery of nearly 700 hundred new marine species in the vast, dark deep-sea around Antarctica.
As part of the ANDEEP (Antarctic Benthic Deep-Sea Biodiversity) Project, scientists “spotted 674 species of isopod (a diverse order of crustaceans), most of which had never previously been described; more than 200 polychaete species (marine worms), 81 of which were found to be new species; and 76 sponges, 17 of which had previously been unknown.”
Fantasizing a bit further, wouldn't it be better to bring the Southern Ocean closer to us? “Capability Brown” obviously divined our dreams over a year ago when he directed us to velo-city after reading about it on Archinect.
Proposed by architect Chris Hardwicke, “velo-city is a high-speed, all-season, pollution-free, ultra-quiet transit system that makes people healthier. Using an infrastructure of elevated cycle tracks velo-city creates a network across the city. The elevated bikeways are enclosed in tubes to provide protection for all season cycling. The bikeway tubes are separated by direction of travel to create a dynamic air circulation loop that creates a natural tail-wind for cyclists. The reduction of air resistance increases the efficiency of cycling by about 90% allowing for speeds of up to 40 km/hr.”
When BLDGBLOG wrote about it, we left a comment:
Why not fill it with water? An aquarium in the sky. A deep oceanic riverine current but on stilts and theters. Watch eels slithering their way through the interlocking tubular loop-de-loop-de-whoop. Or a pack of migrating humpback whales -- the latest leg on their Darwinian odyssey...from sea to land then back to sea again, and finally, to the skies. And if the entire structure collapses, well...back to land again in a sort of Douglas Adams dysfantasia. And why not some bioluminescent hatchetfishes, twinkling in the night sky where stars have long been blotted out by urban light pollution. Surely a very romantic evening can be had under the shimmering Aquarium in the Sky. Until...of course...a 40-ton humpback whale comes plunging down.
Exploring the deep in the skies above Chicago, loop-de-loop-de-whooping in loop-de-loop-de-whoops, knotted to the exact hydrodynamic flow patterns of the Southern Ocean. Or they could even be patterned after the violent hydrothermal whirlpools in the mid-ocean ridges: over Rome are the rivers coursing through the Marianas Trench, and over Cairo the convections of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge.
Watch Japanese “researchers” hunt whales for “science” or schools of tuna rhyming with flocks of starlings. Near where a loop dips to within a few feet off the ground, children play next to Charybdis, the Kraken and the Leviathan.
Versailles in the Pacific