Michele Banks Reader

Michele Banks

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Cat Bounce: a random way to waste your time

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By Michele Banks in Cool Websites on Thursday 1 November 2012

Here’s your latest time-waster – a super-simple site with a bunch of black and white photos of cats bouncing around in seemingly random ways. As they lose velocity, you can click to throw them back up in the air. Way friendlier than those angry birds.

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Jackie Hoysted’s Minimally Charged art series

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By Michele Banks in New Events on Thursday 1 November 2012

Jackie Hoysted is an Irish-born artist who has been living in the US for fifteen years and working in a number of different media, including encaustic and ceramics. Over the past year, she has concentrated on painting, with stunning results. Her show in early 2012 at Washington, DC’s Gallery 555, called Girls – Nice Doesn’t Cut It, introduced art lovers to a tough bunch of young women. The show of large-scale portraits depicted determined-looking, serious women, many named after legendary heroines. As Hoysted told the Huffington Post: ‘I feel that girls are brought up to be nice and liked and that holds them back from being the most successful people they can be’.

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Miffy: a design-savvy website for kids

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By Michele Banks in Cool Websites on Wednesday 31 October 2012

It’s meant for little kids, but this website, based on a little white rabbit drawn by a Dutch artist in 1955, has a lot to recommend it to design junkies and other grownups. Miffy the bunny was first drawn by Dutch artist Dick Bruna in 1955. He refined his design over the years, but Miffy (or Nijntje as she is known in the Netherlands) has looked the same since 1963.

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The Teapot Redefined at the Mobilia Gallery in Cambridge

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By Michele Banks in New Events on Tuesday 30 October 2012

Mobilia Gallery in Cambridge, MA, invited dozens of artists to rethink a humble household item: the teapot. While some produced lovely variations in traditional ceramics, quite a few thought way outside the, uh, pot. Louise Hill’s Upsidedownsized is a topsy-turvy brick house complete with furniture, lights and a tire swing. Wesley Fleming’s Mantis Tea Time captures some graceful insects in glass. Gerard Ferrari created a highly untraditional Robotic Bug with Claws, while Liz Alpert-Fay went more conceptual with a wire-mesh teapot complete with embroidered spill. The exhibit continues until November 15.

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Modern fairytales for twenty-somethings

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By Michele Banks in Cool Websites on Tuesday 30 October 2012

We all like to imagine we’re the hero of our own legend, right? This fun tumblr updates the old classics – some in as short as a single sentence – with details that make them relevant for today. A taste: ‘The ugly duckling read obscure works of literature in other languages and listened to indie music even the guys in the record store had never heard of. If I’m not going to be prettier than anyone, she thought, I’m at least going to be better than them’.

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Crowdsourcing the Secrets of Meth Amphetamine

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By Michele Banks in New Trends on Tuesday 30 October 2012

Lots of people take meth and other amphetamines, and quite a few know how to make them. But oddly enough, nobody knows exactly how amphetamines work. This gap in knowledge makes it hard to understand and treat the large and growing problem of amphetamine addiction. The scarcity and slow pace of funding for research compounds the difficulty.

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These glasses are the closest thing to real-life x-ray specs

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By Michele Banks in Tech on Wednesday 3 October 2012

Humans can tell instinctively whether other people are ill or embarrassed by observing their skin – whether it’s displaying a greenish pallor or a rosy blush. Doctors and scientists can notice more subtle effects caused by variations in the oxygenation of the blood. n innovative startup has now translated that knowledge into special filtered glasses called O2Amps that may have applications ranging from medicine to law enforcement to dating.

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The Pleated Jeans blog: corgifying celebrities

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By Michele Banks in Cool Websites on Wednesday 3 October 2012

Let us now praise photoshop, tumblr and people with free time and strange imaginations. The One Tiny Hand tumblr tweaks photos of celebs so they appear to have one normal sized hand and one ridiculously tiny one, an effect which is disturbingly hilarious, or maybe hilariously disturbing. Jeff Wysaski of the Pleated Jeans blog takes some famous people and some innocent creatures and “corgifies” them. All are peculiar. Korgye West is a classic.

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Intricate tire carvings by Wim Delvoye

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By Michele Banks in New Art on Wednesday 3 October 2012

Belgian artist Wim Delvoye created these unique sculptures by hand-carving elaborate floral and geometric patterns into used tires. Delvoye’s whimsical work merges the rugged with the rococo. For example, in his cement mixer, which might look right at home in Versailles. These pieces contrast sharply with his with his colorful, SimCity inspired website, which encourages visitors to wander among his many artistic pursuits.

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An Apple a Day Pillbox by Art Drauglis

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By Michele Banks in New Design on Wednesday 3 October 2012

If an apple a day does keep the doctor away, you’ll want to remember to eat that apple. This whimsical pillbox by woodworker Art Drauglis can help. Looks just like grandma’s, only much larger and more beautiful in natural osage and ash woods. Drauglis says you can really use it to hold your meds, but he suggests ‘apples, chocolate truffles or small liquor bottles’ as more appealing alternatives.

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Metal tree sculptures by KaiTree

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By Michele Banks in New Art on Tuesday 25 September 2012

Artist KaiTrees keeps a low profile online, so not many people know about his incredible sculptures of trees, made of wires twisted together and then painstakingly pulled back apart. He posts some pictures of his work on Deviant Art and has a few available for sale at ArtFire It’s worth zooming in close to see the incredible level of detail.

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Sawdust Bear makes anxious monsters

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By Michele Banks in New Art on Tuesday 25 September 2012

Shing Yin Khor (aka Sawdust Bear) describes herself as ‘a sculptor and illustrator inspired by monsters, tentacles, mediocre science fiction movies, bikes, Dungeons and Dragons, and really adorable cats’. Some of her sculpted characters appear in Marlowe the Monster, a webcomic about a lumpy, multi-eyed monster who goes on bad dates and suffers from social anxiety, which he soothes by eating cake.

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Screenshots of Despair: a bleak tumblr blog

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By Michele Banks in Cool Websites on Tuesday 25 September 2012

If your sense of humour runs to the existential and bleak, you’ll love Screenshots of Despair, a tumblr featuring those moments when our electronic devices convey horrible truths. Its creator says that ‘it’s as much about the gap between people and machines as it is about isolation’. He also notes that ‘this blog was practically meant for the Random button’.

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Silk scarves for science geeks

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By Michele Banks in New Fashion on Tuesday 18 September 2012

I’m a painter and collage artist whose work is inspired by science, especially biology. After years of creating colorful riffs on mitosis, brain cells, bacteria and other microscopic marvels, I decided to branch out.

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The Kitten Micro-biome Project by Jennifer Gardy

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By Michele Banks in Cool Websites on Tuesday 18 September 2012

Jennifer Gardy, PhD, is a serious scholar with a serious job as a university professor and the head of a major research lab. She also has the most adorable, least pretentious personal website ever. Despite her busy schedule, she also finds time to head up the (entirely fictitious) Kitten Microbiome Project, to which I had the […]

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