• The exhibit celebrates craft’s reblooming and also the museum’s 40-year milestone. Each of the 40 artists chosen by curator Nicholas R. Bell was born after 1972, when the museum opened in its home down the street from the White House. The charmingly stodgy Renwick is known for its displays of traditional 19th- and 20th-century crafts and furniture, but the museum is taking this opportunity to look toward the future, showing, for example, one-name artist Olek’s room filled with objects encased in crocheted yarn and Joshua DeMonte’s architecturally inspired, digitally formed wearable sculpture.

    An eager optimism forms the heart of the exhibition, where “craft is about making a better world,” as the introductory text reads, and American traditions find new breath. The Renwick seeks to categorize this new generation of craft-based artists by running threads through possible common experiences, including the ubiquitous growth of the Internet and globalization, as well as the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and the effect of continual warfare on the American identity. The show remarks on craft’s rise following industrialism and the separation of consumers from the objects they consume, which eventually fueled the DIY movement and websites like Etsy. But such attempts by the Renwick to frame this group of artists on such broad terms often feels forced.

    The exhibition, in reality, can’t speak for a generation or for craft’s future. The works instead revel more in new materials, new technologies, new histories, new experiences and, in one case, enlightenment.

    Illumination comes from Nick Dong’s “Enlightenment Room” installation, a sealed chamber filled with the aroma of incense and covered with convex white tiles on the walls and mirrors on the floor and ceiling. One at a time, visitors are invited to enter the space and sit on a cushioned seat, activating a series of sonorous Tibetan chants while more than 600 LED bulbs fill the room with bright light. The program ends immediately when the occupant stands, as if an enlightened moment has come and gone, contingent on the patience of the visitor.

    So how is this craft? Dong’s room challenges the viewer to forget about traditional categories and revel in the handcrafted: The 10,000 porcelain tiles in the room were made and signed by the artist’s own hands. Other works’ handicraft renew the everyday, such as Stacey Lee Webber’s pair of shovels made from soldered-together square cuttings of pennies and Sergey Jivetin’s necklace made of egg shells that collect in delicate clusters.

    It’s enough to make one look more carefully at surroundings. Olek simply brought her environment to Washington, installing a replica of her Brooklyn apartment in the galleries and covering everything from the bathtub to the bed with brightly colored crocheted yarn. Her installation will “go live” at points during the show, with performers wearing crocheted bodysuits. Olek also made her presence known in Washington days before the exhibition opened by “yarn-bombing” the Albert Einstein Memorial, covering the statue with a camouflage-pattern pink and purple jumpsuit.

    Such unexpected uses of materials reverberate throughout the show, such as in Sabrina Gschwandtner’s quilts, made with vintage 16mm films from the Fashion Institute of Technology stitched together with her own reels, and Melanie Bilenker’s resin brooches and lockets, showing images of her daily life — pouring milk or stepping into shoes — carefully “drawn” with her own hair. Sebastian Martorana’s exquisitely carved marble sculpture of a pillow indented by a resting head creates a permanent memorial to a fleeting moment: The object captures the instant when the artist lifted his father-in-law from his deathbed.


  • Federal agencies across the board have embraced Nutanix’s SAN-less platform in an effort to build private cloud infrastructure at 40 percent lower cost than traditional on-premise approaches, without compromising on strict service level and information security governance. Nutanix Complete Cluster empowers government agencies to combat the encroachment of public cloud platforms that fail to deliver Congress mandated controls.

    Nutanix harnesses the same distributed system techniques that power Google, Amazon, Facebook, and Netflix clouds and packages it into an enterprise-friendly, 2U rack-mount enclosure. Private cloud infrastructure is fast becoming an essential requirement for government agencies that face compliance mandates for improved data center efficiency and data protection.

    The compact form factor of the Nutanix Complete Cluster opens up new mobile and remote data center possibilities for defense, education, energy, and healthcare organizations that demand infrastructure in proximity to their end users to improve application speed and end-user experience. Whether supporting the warfighter, providing end-user computing clusters, or deploying critical apps in international locations, the small and scalable 2U footprint of the Nutanix Complete Cluster has experienced adoption within federal government agencies.

    “We were looking for a virtualization solution that was extremely compact, light, energy-efficient, and ready for tactical mobile environments,” said a prominent decision maker from a large branch of the military. “Nutanix helped us minimize our physical server footprint and at the same time deliver better quality of service for our applications.”

    Federal government IT departments are also looking to Nutanix to provide a cost-effective model of scale for virtualizing their datacenters. Nutanix’s revolutionary approach of cutting out costly SAN and converging compute + storage into a single tier of infrastructure saves them 30 to 60 percent on equipment alone.

    “Nutanix Federal has seen very strong adoption of our Complete Cluster as it allows agencies to do a lot more with a lot less. It has equated to several million dollars worth of appliances sold in the last 5 months,” said Jason Langone from Nutanix’s Federal Accounts team. “Many of these agencies are repeat buyers because they start small, and once they experience its innovation, they seamlessly grow the same system or deploy multiple appliances at satellite bases, effectively pushing the cloud to the edge.”

    Nutanix extends the power of Fusion-io to the realm of enterprise virtualization by combining Google-like high performance localized storage and distributed redundancy via high speed Arista 10GbE top-of-rack switches. Nutanix ships with four industry-standard x86 servers bundled with VMware’s hypervisor in a 2U, 85 pound SAN-less server appliance.

    The Nutanix Solution Reseller partner program includes various solution providers to the federal market. “Nutanix was a natural addition for us as a virtualization solution provider to federal agencies we support,” said Joe Brown, President of Accelera. “The Nutanix Complete Cluster is proven to reduce the stringent cost, space, and power requirements placed on the public sector, while meeting performance and reliability demands. We feel strongly that Nutanix is the best and most cost-effective platform to deploy enterprise VDI on. Our Nutanix customers are saving 30 percent just in capex alone over traditional compute and storage architectures.”


  • Shane and Erinn Farrell never planned on tearing down their early 1900s bungalow in Minneapolis. For the first six years they lived there, the modest two-bedroom home was perfect for just the two of them. But for three or four? The Farrells decided they needed more room for the next chapter of their lives - as a family.

    “We wanted to stay in our Linden Hills neighborhood,” Erinn said. At first they considered adding a second story for a nursery and master bedroom. But architect Eric Odor, of SALA Architects in Minneapolis, discovered that the existing foundation wouldn’t support a new second story, the front porch was sagging and the basement ceiling was awfully low.

    “With all the needed improvements, it would cost virtually the same to build a new home,” Odor said. “If we just put on a second story, they would still have this 100-year-old house.”

    After crunching the numbers, the Farrells agreed.

    “We decided that it would make more sense financially to start over,” said Shane. “Then we could take advantage of the new technologies and build green.”

    Designing a new house from scratch offered endless options. But the couple were clear about their top priorities: an open floor plan, lots of glass for natural light, three bedrooms upstairs, and maximum energy efficiency. And lastly, Shane requested an unfinished basement to serve as his floor-hockey rink and bike-repair workshop.

    The couple’s desire for eco-friendly features and SALA’s commitment to sustainability led Odor to register the house as a LEED for Homes project, with a gold rating expected this month. LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is a national program that promotes the design and construction of green homes.

    “Building a LEED house wasn’t on our radar at first,” Shane said. “But we wanted to do something socially responsible and we knew we would make up the costs eventually in our energy bills.”

    Odor suggested panelized construction of the home because it reduces waste, construction time and impact on neighbors. Plus it would garner a tenth of the required LEED points.

    “We’d never heard of panelization,” Shane said. “Eric explained the benefits. It wasn’t more money and it would save us time.”

    Panelized construction means that the walls and floors are built as modules in a factory and then trucked to the site and assembled in place.

    “It was amazing,” Shane said. “In one day it went from a hole in the ground to a framed house with walls and floors. We were able to walk through a house we had seen only on paper.”

    Other green features include passive solar heat from south-facing patio doors and windows, water-saving fixtures, locally sourced materials, a high-efficiency furnace, a Thermomass-insulated foundation and fiber-cement siding.

    When the Farrell home was completed in 2010, Odor estimated that it cost 2 to 3 percent more than a traditional non-LEED home.

    The couple have never regretted their decision to tear down the bungalow and build new. “We have a brand new house, built exactly the way we wanted, and it’s also increased our equity,” Shane said.

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  • led light 10.01.2012 No Comments

    3Dtechnology, a subject of much discussion last year, is now here for real and you can see its imprint in television, computer games, phones, tablets and cameras on show at a trade fair organised by the Board of Investment (BoI) where eco-friendly innovations hog the spotlight.

    Among the highlights of the BoI Fair 2011 is a “Smart Technology Zone” where LG Electronics Thailand is showcasing a concept called “Smilenovation”, which encompasses environmental friendliness and advanced technologies.

    Featured are LG’s home entertainment and mobile communications businesses, including 72-inch full LED 3D television, the largest ever seen in the region, and LG Optimus LTE, which supports 4G connectivity. It is also the first time in Thailand that LG is showcasing its ground-breaking full suite of 3D solutions, including its Cinema 3D television with FPR technology, 3D Home Theatre, 3D projector, Optimus 3D smart phone, and the world’s first glass-free 3D monitor utilising eye-tracking technology.

    Another zone, “Innovative Green Living”, displays home appliances that feature health and energy saving solutions, including air-conditioning. ThinQ technology allows consumers to manage refrigerators, washing machines, ovens and robotic vacuum cleaners via a smart network.

    Under the theme “Tomorrow, Together”, Hitachi Asia features a range of advanced sustainable urban technology and innovations to help create a better society. Entering its pavilion, visitors come face to face with marvellous interactive technology inspired by nature _ beautiful sakura flowers in bloom all around. They can ride to a futuristic town on Hitachi’s Super Express Train, a state-of-art simulation that fascinates visitors with a train journey around Japan where the scenery changes with season.

    Toshiba Thailand has conceptualised its pavilion as a “Smart Community”. It is a futuristic community based on an integrated system of energy, water, transportation, ICT and healthcare solutions in which all components work together to efficiently protect the environment. Technology proposed by Toshiba makes the least use of resources for optimal living conditions.

    Visitors can also sample the latest Toshiba products such as 55-inch LED 3D glass free television, voice activated air-conditioning, the world’s thinnest and lightest tablet PC, the world’s first 3D notebook without glass, and the world’s fastest charging high capacity ion battery.

    At the Panasonic pavilion visitors can appreciate a range of eco-products. The company features a miniature energy-saving city to demonstrate a concept that can be described as “eco-life that connects with the earth”.

    The city features a house, an electric mass transit system, a convenience store, office buildings, and factories: All run by a complete energy system management using energy-saving electrical appliances.

    The city’s energy consumption is controlled by a Home Energy Management System (HEMS) that uses the Internet to connect electronic appliances and audio & visual devices in homes. Energy consumption levels are indicated to alert family members to take steps to control usage. HEMS has also been applied in retail shops to minimise energy costs.

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  • Dean Winton’s signaling other motorists that law enforcement officers were ahead in St. Lucie County in 2010 earned him a traffic ticket — and a place in a class-action lawsuit against several state agencies over their citing drivers for flashing their headlights.

    Within the last month the lawsuit has led to both the Florida Highway Patrol and the Martin County Sheriff’s office ceasing issuing tickets for headlight flashing until the suit is settled.Sheriff’s offices in St. Lucie and Indian River counties are continuing enforcement of the state statute while waiting on the outcome of the lawsuit.At issue is whether a state statue’s prohibition of flashing lights on vehicles includes what some motorists consider to be a courtesy: signaling that officers are around.

    “This (citations for flashing lights) is a completely false assertion by traffic enforcement,” said J. Marc Jones, an Oviedo attorney, who on Aug. 22 filed the civil lawsuit against the Florida Highway Patrol and other state agencies. Jones contends the statute’s prohibition of flashing lights on vehicles doesn’t mean motorists can’t flash their headlights.

    “Officers are specifically stating that flashing lights to warn other drivers of police presence is against the law and they cite (state statute) 316.2397,” Jones wrote in his lawsuit. He said the statute clearly deals with equipment on a vehicle and not the physical act of flashing ones lights.

    The state hasn’t yet responded to the lawsuit that is pending in Leon County at the state’s capital.

    But within a week of the lawsuit’s filing, the Florida Highway stopped citing drivers.

    The FHP’s deputy director of patrol operation, Grady Carrick on Aug. 29 sent out a memo that read, “… you are directed to suspend enforcement action for this type of driver behavior, regardless of the statute cited.”

    The tickets are comparatively rare. The FHP estimates its officers have written 82 such traffic citations statewide within the last 12 months.

    Sheriff’s offices along the Treasure Coast each have written about two flashing light tickets this year but this include citations for such things as having emergency blinkers on when not needed or having decorative lights attacked to the underside of the car that change colors.Indian River County Sheriff Daryl Loar said he will review the lawsuit and monitor what his deputies are doing.St. Lucie County Sheriff’s Chief Deputy Garry Wilson said both tickets written in by deputies this year have been upheld. Still, “We are watching the case to see the outcome,” he said.

    Wilson said flashing headlights to warn motorists of law enforcement is more usually seen on high-speed highways such as Interstate 95 and Florida’s Turnpike.

    That is where Winton was when he was stopped at 9 p.m. on May 14, 2010.

    The Weston resident was driving north out of the Port St. Lucie-Fort Pierce rest stop on the Turnpike on his way to take his wife and two children to Universal Studios in Orlando.

    He saw two Florida Department of Transportation officers parked ahead along the highway. And he flashed his minivan’s headlights.

    Soon two patrol cars with flashing colored lights were behind him.

    When he was told why he was stopped, “I was shocked,” he said. “I asked if that (headlight flashing) is illegal? The officer said yes. They are misquoting statutes.”

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