Hole In His Skull


Magnificent digital creations such as Digital Grotesque featured in my previous post, is impressive, indeed. Breathtaking. Here is a recent story of advancement in 3D printing on a much smaller scale. Smaller, yes, however, by no means less impressive:

Israel. Jerusalem. Shaare Zedek Medical CenterThe patient is a young man, 21. Diagnosis: severe form of meningitis, an acute inflammation of the protective membranes covering the brain. The disease caused a life-threatening increase of intracranial pressure.

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DrJohn Winestone

Senior Neurosurgeon  DrJohn Winestone examined the patient and confirmed that the young man suffers from a rare form of infection. The chance of survival is extremely low. Medications did not help, the patient’s condition sharply  worsened, he lost consciousness, gradually plunged into a coma and was hooked up to a Life Support System. Emergency surgery resulted in removing of a skull bone 15 centimeters (5.90551 inches) in diameter to stop further elevation of intracranial pressure. It ultimately saved the patient’s life. But what about his skull?

When the patient’s condition stabilized, experts decided to turn to volumetric printing to create a prosthetic skull bone. The unique surgery — an implantation of a 3D-printed part of the skull to replace a lost bone — was a success. At present, the patient’s condition is quite satisfactory.

It was for the first time in the history of medicine that the volumetric printing was used to create a skull bone. It should be noted that previously, 3D-printing was used primarily in oral and maxillofacial surgery.

 

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Digital Grotesque II

Digital Grotesque II . Printing Architecture – Full Version from Digital Grotesque on Vimeo.

Digital Grotesque consists of two full-scale 3D printed grottos. Grotto II, featured in this post, is commissioned by Centre Pompidou, and premiered at the Imprimer le monde exhibition in March 2017. Grotto I is a commission by FRAC Centre, Orléans, for its permanent collection.column-slices-1The grotto is entirely designed by algorithms, and optimized to present highly differentiated geometries that forge a rich and stimulating spatial experience for the observer. A subdivision algorithm exploits the 3D printer’s full potential by creating porous, multi-layered structures with spatial depth.astana-columns-2A single volume spawns millions of branches, growing and folding into a complex topological structure. Hundreds of square meters of surface are compressed into a 3.5 meter high block that forms an organic landscape between the man-made and the natural.astana-columns-4Standing in front of the grotto, one is struck by a hitherto unseen richness of detail that is at times overwhelming. Digital Grotesque is a testament to and celebration of a new kind of architecture that leaves behind traditional paradigms of rationalization and standardization and instead emphasizes the viewer’s perception, evoking marvel, curiosity and bewilderment.imprimer-le-monde-xl5

Link to the Digital Grotesque home page

Grave Matters

relicSince the early Middle Ages, relics of the saints,  preserved for purposes of veneration as a tangible memorial, considered extremely valuable. After all, they work miracles, protect local communities and — not a  small matter — they attract pilgrims. In one way or another, these tremendous benefits turn into money, prosperity and profit in  BuddhismChristianityIslamHinduismShamanism, and many other religions.

St_MartinBishop of Tours, enthusiastically ordering the destruction of pagan temples, altars and sculptures, and later known as Martin of Tours , was a rather decrepit man. Still, he found strength to wander between the two cities. Residents of these towns have long been monitoring his moves, waiting patiently (or not so patiently) for his demise in order to acquire his remains. At times, the patience on both sides run so low that the “good Christians” of both places were ready to kill the bishop. Martin died in the village between these cities. The villagers, on whom such luck had unexpectedly fallen, managed to deceive both cities, hiding the body and inventing a convincing alibi. St Martin’s shrine in France became a famous stopping-point for pilgrims on the road to Santiago de Compostela in Spain.Elizabeth of Hungary.jpgElizabeth of Thuringia, a Hungarian princess, was so virtuous that no one doubted her posthumous transfer to the rank of saints. When she died in 1231 at the age of 24, good people of faith simply tore her body into pieces, only to put their hands on their very own chunk of saintly flesh. Speak about “tangible”!

Saint_RomualdRomuald was revered as a saint in his lifetime.  In his old age, in a small monastery Val di Castro, he mentioned of his wish to move away and settle in another city. The prospect of losing Romuald, particularly his soon-to-be remains, in favor of some unworthy neighbors, did not sit well with his comrades. Overcome with not so saintly worries, they conferred and decided that murder was their only option to keep Romuald for themselves. Unholy brothers promptly proceeded to exercise this very option. Thus Romuald was murdered… God only knows how mercifully.

Of this and more in Barley, N. (2006). : Encounters with Death Around the World. New York : Henry Holt & Company.

Encounters with Death Around the World

Within the multitude of attitudes toward grieving, Grave Matters reveals that after death the body may be preserved or obliterated, transformed into furniture, or eaten. In this cross-cultural study of how people lend meaning to death, Nigel Barley uses autobiographical vignettes and a careful blend of ethnography and comparative theories to reflect on today’s mortuary practices and issues.

Silent Reading

ReadingIn his autobiography Confessions, written at the end of the 4th century AD, St Augustine of Hippo writes how utterly stunned he was when he observed Bishop Ambrose of Milan reading a book. Ambrose’s mouth was closed, his lips didn’t move. It was a miracle!

In those days readers habitually moved their fingers, slowly, along the lines, pronouncing aloud every word. It took humankind another 500 years to develop silent reading ability to the level that it became a norm.

 

Ken and Canaletto

Ken Small, 84, who lives near Darlington in County Durham, worked as a mechanic until he retired aged 65, at which point he realized his true calling was painting.Ken Small.jpg
Here is Ken Small proudly posing next to his own life-size version of ‘Venice’ by 18th Century Italian artist Giovanni Antonio Canal (1697 – 1768), better known as Canaletto.

Ken Small Canaletto

Ken or Canaletto?

Couldn’t resist the article about talented Ken.

Women Of The World And Kurt Vonnegut’s Wife

This post was previously published on March 8, 2013. Today is year another March 8th, International Women’s Day…

Although barely noticed in the good old US of A, March 8th is celebrated around the world as the International Women’s Day. Good old Google, bless its loopy heart, celebrates International Women’s Day with a doodle of women from around the world, have you noticed?

Millions of Russian women – as far as I remember back when I used to be one – celebrate this day as it were yet another Valentine’s Day, invented exclusively for women – mothers, wives, lovers, friends. Flowers, attention and token gifts are expected from husbands, sons, boyfriends, classmates, coworkers and, generally, all those who – for one reason or another — sometimes, without any reason whatsoever — consider themselves MEN of at least 5 years of age with no upper limit. Women’s working conditions, struggle for equal pay, and nearly everything else that this day was designated to become since early 1900’s, gets often forgotten or relinquished to the effort of activists.

All pretty flowers and Umberto Tozzi crooning something sweet with the refrain “Te Amo” – the heart-melting words of love…

vonnegut lettersNow then, what Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., one of my favorite writers, has to do with any of it? Well, it might seem rather far-fetched, tenuous  connection at best, but at certain time of his life, Kurt Vonnegut behaved like your ordinary Russian husband on March 8th…

3 days ago, a book Kurt Vonnegut: Letters, edited by Dan Wakefield, came out. In it, very early on, because it is dated January 26, 1947, there is a hilarious document… Take a look. If your sense of humor is comparable to that of Mark Twain, Kurt Vonnegut and, well, mine, then you’d get a kick out of it too. Very fittingly, I’ve got the book today, March the 8th, on the International Woman’s Day. The text below is a courtesy of the Harper’s Magazine — the excerpt from the book was published in October of last year.

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v3And purely for fun, I’ll throw in another Women’s Day Russian clip, featuring Russian men in various stages of dishabille, wishing women everywhere Happy Women’s Day and hoping to impress them with tastefully (or not) decorated areas below their waists. The lyrics  of the song… is unimaginative at best. Turn off the sound if it annoys you.

Please be warned that flowers and various props notwithstanding, a few male bare bottoms with no adornment whatsoever might be observed.

World Writers Day

Paper_Sculptures_Jeff_Nishinaka1.jpgThe World Writers Day is celebrated annually on March 3 since 1986. It was established by the International Congress of PEN Club.

The International PEN Club is a worldwide association of writers founded in London in 1921, in order to promote friendship and intellectual support among writers from all the corners of the world. The name for the organization was created from the first letters of the words “Poets, Essayists and Novelists,” but indeed it includes writers of all the forms of literature, including journalists and historians.

The idea to create such organization belongs to the English writer Catherine Amy Dawson Scott and its first president was John Galsworthy. Nowadays the International PEN Club has its centers in over 130 countries. The International PEN Club is the oldest global literary organization that emphasizes the role of literature in the development of the world culture, fighting for the liberty of expression.

Ikigai. The Craft of Happiness

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Ikigai is a Japanese concept meaning “a reason for being“. Everyone, according to the Japanese, has an ikigai. Finding it requires a deep and often lengthy search of self. Such a search is regarded as being very important, since it is believed that discovery of one’s ikigai brings satisfaction and meaning to life.

Ikigai is composed of 2 Japanese words:

  • Iki referring to the concept of life;
  • Kai, roughly, means realization of one’s expectations and hopes.

The Japanese island of Okinawa is said to be home to the largest population of centenarians in the world. Any wonder ikigai has its origins in Okinawa?

While researching the topic of ikigai, the authors of a new book on the movement,   Héctor García and Francesc Miralles lived among the people of Okinawa.

Héctor García is a citizen of Japan, where he has lived for over a decade, and of Spain, where he was born. A former software engineer, he worked at CERN in Switzerland before moving to Japan, where he developed voice recognition software and the technology needed for Silicon Valley startups to enter the Japanese market. He is the creator of the popular blog kirainet.com and the author of A Geek in Japan, a #1 bestseller in Japan.

Francesc Miralles is an award-winning author who has written a number of bestselling self-help and inspirational books. Born in Barcelona, he studied journalism, English literature, and German, and has worked as an editor, a translator, a ghost-writer, and a musician. His novel Love in Lowercase has been translated into twenty languages.

The book claiming to teach you the ways of achieving happiness and a longer life

In their book, Ikigai The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life, Garcia and Miralles discern the ten golden rules of Okinawans’ ikigai.  It seems so easy to find one’s own ikigai!  (Note: The images below are not from the book.)
The Ten Rules of Ikigai:

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 1. Stay active and don’t retire

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2. Leave urgency behind and adopt a slower pace of life

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3. Only eat until you are 80 per cent full

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 4. Surround yourself with good friends

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5. Get in shape through daily, gentle exercise

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6. Smile and acknowledge people around you

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7. Reconnect with nature

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8. Give thanks to anything that brightens our day and makes us feel alive.

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9. Live in the moment

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10. Follow your ikigai

Bitcoin According to Natalya Kaspersky

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Natalya Ivanovna Kasperskaya, branded Kaspersky in the West, is a Russian IT entrepreneur, President of the ‘InfoWatch’ group of companies and co-founder and ex-CEO of antivirus security software company ‘Kaspersky Lab’. Photo: Sergei Bobulev/TASS

A bit over а month ago, Natalya Kaspersky gave a rare interview to Komsomolskaya Pravda, following her presentation entitled “Modern technologies – the basis for information and cyber-wars” at ITMO University in St. Petersburg, where ITMO stands for the Saint-Petersburg National Research University of Information Technologies, Mechanics and Optics.

What follows, is a compilation of excerpts from both Ms. Kaspersky’s interview and presentation. Translation, interpretation and hyperlinks, where appropriate, are mine.

“In the last two years we constantly, in closed mode, encounter a large number of specialists in cryptography, cryptocurrencies, digital money. Most of them are merely enthusiasts and “evangelists” of the blockchain. They love this new world, they expect to work in it, achieve some remarkable results — in a word, to change the world.

However, all of the above, nevertheless, converge on several basic provisions:

  • The architecture of bitcoin was described in the White paper of American intelligence long before the appearance of the mythical Satoshi Nakamoto;
  • Both the texts and code of “Satoshi Nakamoto” are overflowing with Americanisms. This is typical American product — experts easily determine the country-specific programming style, the tools used, the programming code design, as well as English language used in the technical notes and comments;
  • The very implementation of bitcoin (design and programming) is a huge undertaking. Obviously, this wasn’t created by a lone genius, but by a group of highly professional cryptographers over several years — there are many man-years invested, no doubt.

“Now then, where can a group of professional American cryptographers work for several years, why and whatever for? Where do you think expert cryptographers work these days? What kind of jobs they have? Obviously, they work predominantly in various special services agencies.

“However, one shouldn’t be spooked by it. After all, many new technologies that came to us from the US — GPS, TOR, and actually the Internet itself — are USA military developments that eventually were commercialized and made available “to the masses”.

“Obviously, this is advantageous: you invest military money and military intelligence, then commercialize, thereby supporting private American companies and developing their business. Take TOR as an example, the military system originally developed as communication tool for spies. It was privatized and released, and then Chinese dissidents crowded in, and crime followed close behind —  drugs deals, weapon sales, child porn, contract killings…

“Might as well, the bitcoin story was a similar one. Of course, this is an assumption, but not nearly as far fetched…

“It’s not only about bitcoin, though. I think that the entire infrastructure of the blockchain and cryptocurrency has been developed in the USA. Control over cryptocurrencies can be achieved through the creation of super-corporations with super-technologies in key locations, as was the case with the Internet, and also through stock markets, startup funding etc. And what country is doing better in this regard than USA — in the Valley and beyond”.

“Bitcoin is a project of American intelligence agencies, which was designed to provide quick funding for U.S., British, and Canadian intelligence activities in different countries. [The technology] is ‘privatized,’ just like the internet, GPS, and TOR. In fact, it is ‘Dollar 2.0’. Its rate is controlled by the owners of exchanges.”

Ms. Kaspersky talks about risks following development of blockchain technologies and bitcoin as currency.

  • Is it possible to control the circulation of money within the country?
  • Is transparency of transactions ensured?
  • Is there any influence of the government on the exchange rate?

The answers to all three questions are negative. Bitcoin currency is not tied to any country or government, thus regulated by no one. Transparency of transactions in bitcoin is nonexistent — it is impossible to establish reliably who pays to whom. This goes against the trend of transparency of transactions around the world. And, finally, the bitcoin stock price is based solely on the expectations and enthusiasm of speculators,  hoping to make money on a “new financial instrument,” while bitcoin is traded on foreign exchanges.

Further, Ms. Kaspersky’s interview is becoming more “country-specific”. She explores the numerous pitfalls and dangers of bitcoin/blockchain for Russia and its economic trends. If interested, look for the original interview, in Russian, here.

Bone Deep Erotica

Erotica (according to Wikipedia) is any artistic work that deals substantively with erotically stimulating or sexually arousing subject matter. All forms of art may depict erotic content, including painting, sculpture, photography, drama, film, music or literature.  But X-ray?

A couple of years ago, the Japanese company Eizo that designs and manufactures computer monitors, released an unusual “side product” — erotic calendar. Free of charge, numerous copies of X-erotica were shipped to clinics across the globe, to accompany an advertizing brochure introducing a new line of  X-ray monitores. Eizo’s marketing fit was a success. The “bone bunnies” calendar even participated in a prestigious Communication Arts Advertising Competition.

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Source: Amusing Planet