Monday, August 16, 2010

Dekochari: UFO Bicycles

Rolling through the night like visions from 1980's outer space, these beautiful and mysterious contraptions are handmade pimped-out bicycles from Japan. For decades, dekotara fans (especially those too young to drive) have been making all manner of dekochari. Modeled after Japan's celebrated art trucks, dekochari (deko means "decoration" and chari is slang for "bicycle") typically feature large front bumpers, ornate luggage racks, rear-mounted boxes that resemble truck trailers, colorful paint jobs, lots of chrome, and sophisticated electric light displays.

The video below pieces together random night scenes from Dekochari Yarou, a documentary that profiles a few dekochari enthusiasts and their custom rides. The soundtrack is "Ichiban-boshi Blues" (sung by Bunta Sugawara and Kinya Aikawa), the theme song from the Torakku Yarou movie series that sparked Japan's dekotora craze in the '70s.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Scraper Bikes!

They've been around for awhile, but it seems that scraper bikes have recently had a great moment in the sun (they're even on NPR!). The image below is a peek at what Google serves up for "scraper bike"...

Friday, August 13, 2010

Lumninescent Defense

The smooth nylon shrimp (Heterocarpus laevigatus), which inhabits the dark depths of the Pacific Ocean, employs a brilliant method of defense: when threatened, the creature spits out a cloud of bioluminescent blue fluid from its mouth, temporarily blinding its predator and allowing it escape. The video below also includes a great melodramatic soundtrack and features the perfectly timed reactions of Japanese viewers, hovering in a little frame-within-a-frame, in some voyeuristic anonymous space decidedly not in the depths of the Pacific or under any water.

And more biolumninescence... Giant comb squid:

Thursday, August 05, 2010

When We Have Time

We're going to build an orchestra of theremins... Below is a little solar-powered one (a heliophone).