All posts by M.C.

A Photographer Who Documented the Eclectic Subcultures of Southern California

Spot, “Hockey skaters, cops and giddy girls on the Strand, Hermosa Beach, CA” (ca. 1977-78) (courtesy Cornelius Projects)

From the late 1960s to the early ’80s, photographer Spot (born Glen Lockett) documented the various subcultures of Southern California with an unflinching candidness and intimacy. Spot turned his lens on idealistic hippies and burnouts in Hollywood, the burgeoning skate scene in Hermosa Beach, and the origins of South Bay punk. In addition to being a photographer, Spot was an accomplished musician, and as a house producer for seminal punk record label SST he recorded some of the era’s most influential bands, including Black Flag, Minutemen, Meat Puppets, and the Descendents.

SPOT, “Laurie; Hermosa” (ca. 1979) (courtesy Cornelius Projects)

Now on view at San Pedro’s Cornelius Projects, the … Read the rest

The Powerful Art of Satire, from Aristophanes to Today

“Roman, Comic Mask, Held by a Right Hand” (perhaps 2nd century), marble, 7 1/2 x 6 1/8 x 3 3/4 in (Brooklyn Museum, gift of Julius J. Ivanitsky in memory of his parents, Jacob and Ida Ivanitsky, 79.119.2; Creative Commons-BY)

Since January 2016, many of us have had to discover ways to cope with the political climate. More often than not, we’ve resorted to comedy and satire, from our favorite talk show hosts to television like Saturday Night Live that has had somewhat of a revival. We’ve also turned to art and literature, with many local bookstores coming up with entire reading lists solely devoted to the political apocalypse.

These modes of coping with and digesting reality are not exactly new. This evening at the Brooklyn Read the rest

A Prehistoric Hunt Preserved In Incredible Fossilized Tracks

Last April, Matthew Bennett was lying on a white salt flat in New Mexico, uncovering fossilized footprints that had been preserved in the white rock. The print belonged to a ground sloth—a bulky animal, whose large feet and curved claws left apostrophe-shaped impressions wherever it walked. There were many such tracks around, but Bennett found one that was very different.

Inside the outline of the sloth’s 20-inch-long foot was a human footprint.

Human footprint inside a sloth track. (Matthew Bennett / Bournemouth University)

He looked at the next track in the series and found the same thing—a human footprint, perfectly nestled inside a sloth one. There were at least 10 of these, all in a row. “It slowly dawned on me what was happening,” … Read the rest

Soft erythrocyte-based bacterial microswimmers for cargo delivery

Bacteria-propelled biohybrid microswimmers have recently shown to be able to actively transport and deliver cargos encapsulated into their synthetic constructs to specific regions locally. However, usage of synthetic materials as cargo carriers can result in inferior performance in load-carrying efficiency, biocompatibility, and biodegradability, impeding clinical translation of biohybrid microswimmers. Here, we report construction and external guidance of bacteria-driven microswimmers using red blood cells (RBCs; erythrocytes) as autologous cargo carriers for active and guided drug delivery. Multifunctional biohybrid microswimmers were fabricated by attachment of RBCs [loaded with anticancer doxorubicin drug molecules and superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles (SPIONs)] to bioengineered motile bacteria, Escherichia coli MG1655, via biotin-avidin-biotin binding complex. Autonomous and on-board propulsion of biohybrid microswimmers was provided by bacteria, and their external magnetic guidance was enabled by … Read the rest

Controlling sensation intensity for electrotactile stimulation in human-machine interfaces

A barrier to practical use of electrotactile stimulation for haptic feedback has been large variability in perceived sensation intensity because of changes in the impedance of the electrode-skin interface, such as when electrodes peel or users sweat. We show how to significantly reduce this variability by modulating stimulation parameters in response to measurements of impedance. Our method derives from three contributions. First, we created a model between stimulation parameters and impedance at constant perceived sensation intensity by looking at the peak pulse energy and phase charge. Our model fits experimental data better than previous models [mean correlation coefficient (r2) > 0.9] and holds over a larger set of conditions (participants, sessions, magnitudes of sensation, stimulation locations, and electrode sizes). Second, we implemented a … Read the rest

Translucent soft robots driven by frameless fluid electrode dielectric elastomer actuators

Dielectric elastomer actuators (DEAs) are a promising enabling technology for a wide range of emerging applications, including robotics, artificial muscles, and microfluidics. This is due to their large actuation strains, rapid response rate, low cost and low noise, high energy density, and high efficiency when compared with alternative actuators. These properties make DEAs ideal for the actuation of soft submersible devices, although their use has been limited because of three main challenges: (i) developing suitable, compliant electrode materials; (ii) the need to effectively insulate the actuator electrodes from the surrounding fluid; and (iii) the rigid frames typically required to prestrain the dielectric layers. We explored the use of a frameless, submersible DEA design that uses an internal chamber filled with liquid as one of the electrodes … Read the rest