Smiles after a long day of skiing! Went to South Lake Tahoe during President’s Day weekend (Feb 2013) with my classmates from Stanford and their wives. It was a great trip - we skied, did some sledding and had a great time.
People in this picture (from left to right): Jay, Saya, Ankur, Isha and Abeer
Andy Goldsworthy’s Winding Stone Wall
Renowned artist and environmentalist Andy Goldsworthy is known primarily for his meticulous and fleeting works of art created from natural materials such as leaves, icicles, driftwood and snow.
While most are only able to experience Goldsworthy’s art through the photos that document each work’s brief existence, he has also built several large, permanent creations at sites around the world.
One such installation is a long and winding stone wall at the Storm King Art Center in New Windsor, New York, named “Five Men, Seventeen Days, Fifteen Boulders, One Wall.” The wall is one of the most popular sculptures in the center’s 500-acre sculpture garden.
@SituStudio’s Times Square “Heartwalk”
Dumbo, Brooklyn-based Situ Studio (@situstudio) recently built in Times Square “Heartwalk,” a heart-shaped structure constructed entirely of debris from Hurricane Sandy’s aftermath. Thefour-person groupof designers and builders shared their process of constructing Heartwalk on Instagram along the way.
“The genesis of the Heartwalk project was tied to reusing reclaimed material from Hurricane Sandy. The entire structure is fabricated out of boardwalks salvaged from different communities around the Tri-State Area,” says Situ’s Bradley Samuels. “Approximately 500,000 people pass through Times Square each day, and we decided that Instagram would be the most effective tool topopulate a gallerywith user-generated content.”
The Heartwalk sculpture, shared on Instagram through the #heartwalktsqhashtag, was the winning submission to the fifth annualTimes Square Valentine Heart Designcompetition and was commissioned by Times Square Alliance (@timessquarenyc) and Design Trust for Public Space (@designtrustnyc). It will be on display in Times Square until Sunday, March 10.
Functional Cure for HIV in a Newborn Infant
Very cool news over the weekend: Doctors report that they have been able to functionally cure HIV in an infected baby born to an HIV-positive mother in Mississippi. While only a few hundred HIV-infected babies are born in the U.S. every year (thanks to antiviral treatments in pregnant mothers), over 300,000 are born in Africa annually. So this is something that needs to be tackled, Ray Lewis-style.
Why It’s Cool: I want to emphasize that this is a “functional cure”. Like the “Berlin Patient” (who was functionally cured by a completely different process), the virus might still technically be there, but the baby is “cured” for all intents and purposes. Also, this was done by giving the newborn large doses of antiviral drugs that are already available and already used to fight HIV. About a month after birth, the virus was undetectable in the baby’s blood, and on visits months later (even after the mother stopped treating the child for some reason), no HIV was found. The most sensitive tests showed signs of HIV RNA and DNA, which means the virus was there, but no actual virus.
What Questions Remain: This research was presented at a science conference this weekend, and needs to go through the process of peer review to be double and triple-checked, because that’s what we do. Is this the best way to prevent HIV in babies? Not all babies born of HIV+ moms get infected, only about 15-45%. And with methods already in place, that number can be reduced to more like 1%. Did the baby actually have HIV to start? Mothers and babies actually share cells across the placenta, and they are floating in each other’s bodies. Maybe there’s a chance (this is one that I haven’t seen brought up elsewhere) that thetests done to “confirm” the HIV was there to begin with actually detected some of the mother’s cells? I don’t know. Time will tell.
All in all, this is a very cool report of something that hadn’t been done before. But like Sarah Boseley discusses at The Guardian, in the places where HIV+ babies are found the most (sub-Saharan Africa) the problem isn’t finding new methods. It’s getting those methods into practice, and getting mothers and doctors in Africa to take action (often against incredible social resistance). Just this week, “successful” HIV treatments were reported useless in Africa because simply people don’t use them.
Great application of careful medicine, but like the “Berlin Patient”, it probably won’t end up treating HIV where it’s most needed. Not unless something else changes first.
Solar City Tower, to be built with the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
This vertical structure will be built in Cotonduba Island, in front of Rio, in conjunction with the Olympics 2016, that is taking place in Brazil. The building is both an observation Tower and a welcome sign for the visitors arriving by air and by Sea at Rio de Janeiro.
Designed by Zurique firm, RAAFA, Solar City Tower features an artificial waterfall designed to generate clean, renewable energy: during the day the solar panels capture the energy needed to pump the sea water at the top, that is then conveyed through the turbines and produce the power to feed the system at night.
Sapporo Snow Festival
The city of Sapporo in northern Japan has hosted its weeklong snow festival every year since 1950. The first festival had only six participants––local high school students who built six modest snow statues in Odori Park. Now, millions of people visit the festival to view over 200 elaborate snow statues and ice sculptures. Often the statues depict notable events, places or people from the previous year. This year, there are replicas of Thailand’s Wat Bendamabophit Temple, Taipei’s Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Halland Japan’sKabuki-za Theater, as well as sculptures of anime charactersHatsune Miku, Kasane Teto and Sekka Yufu.
Chiang Mai Flower Festival
Chiang Mai, Thailand, hosted its annual Flower Festival over the weekend. The city’s public gardens are especially beautiful this time of year, and visitors flock to the gardens to see flowers found only in Chiang Mai, like the Damask Rose, a rose hybrid.
The Flower Festival Parade on Saturday is the highlight every year. Traditional Thai dancers and Miss Chiang Mai Flower Festival competitors ride atop elaborately decorated floral floats and hand out roses to spectators.
Tulip fields in Holland form a rainbow quilt of color
By Aaron Souppouris, theverge.com
If there’s one thing the Netherlands is famous for, it’s tulips. Photographer Normann Szkop has documented the colorful fields of Anna Paulowna, a town at the northern tip of the country’s North Holland region. To capture the 100-p…
Tulip fields in Holland form a rainbow quilt of color http://flip.it/tTAhy
This is a wonderful landscape. All big offices with huge front stairs can easily integrate this “garden stairs”!
It will be lot of fun to drive on this road!
The 57th Presidential Inauguration
To explore photos taken from the event, search the #inauguration2013, #inaug2013, and #CNN hashtags. And if you’re there, make sure to tag your own photos! You can also browse inauguration photos shared from the National Mall, and West Lawn of the Capitol, and the White House.
Today, an estimated 800,000 people will crowd onto the National Mall to witness the swearing-in of President Barack Obama. The inauguration is the 57th in the United States’ history and follows the November 6 reelection of Barack Obama, America’s 44th President.
To view photos from the inauguration as it happens, be sure to follow @NBCNews, @NPR, and @CNNiReport. You can also check out CNN.com for an interactive visualization of Instagram photos tagged with #CNN and shared by people in the crowd.
To learn more, visit the US Senate’s Presidential Inauguration website.