The L Train 'Notwork'

Wi-fi is taking its sweet time making its way into the subways of New York. Unlike many parts of Europe and Japan, service has just started to make its way to a select few locations. A guerrilla mobile network, however, has changed all of that for L train commuters this week. While not exactly the World Wide Web as we know it, WeMakeCoolSh.it’s “pirate wi-fi” is a way to connect underground.

The service is provided by one person holding onto portable and battery powered web server, on certain cars of the L train. Anyone boarding can connect to WeMakeCoolSh.it’s webserver and each other. Their “Notwork” comes with a lot of toys. Users are able to see artworkand poetry by local artists as well as a few newsfeeds and a chatroom where they can get to know fellow commuters. The network seems to use 8-bit or 16-bit style for its icons and interface, giving it a cool look similar to old video games. It looks like a fun change to the daily commute routine, even if it does rehash a few “the cake is a lie” jokes in its chat.

WeMakeCoolSh.it members invite people to join in on their notwork party by handing out iPhone shaped flyers on platforms near the L train cars they’ve chosen. The experiment continues for all of this week and then it wraps up. Those in the city might want to reroute their commute for the next few days if they’d like to check it out. For those of us not in New York, however, WeMakeCoolSh.it has provided a video of the project so far:

24 Hours in Photos

Digital cameras have changed the way we look at photography entirely. We can afford mistakes and different tries for the same picture. No one is limited by a roll of film anymore. Online, thousands upon thousands of great photos are posted every single day. While that may not seem like a big deal in print, it’s staggering in real life. Erik Kessels brought a fraction of it to life by printing out a single day’s worth of photos uploaded to Flickr.

Gizmodo Gallery 2011

Art galleries are great, but they can hardly be called very exciting unless what they feature has a short life span. For technology lovers, exhibits are more like car shows or conventions. Imagine, however, if things were a little more festive. The Gizmodo Gallery, a week long event featuring all sorts cool technology is part gallery, part carnival, and part surprise takeover, and it’s back for more in New York City.

Back in 2009, Gizmodo, known for its tech, gaming, and internet culture coverage, took over a storefront in SoHo. They transformed it into a gallery for some of the coolest and weirdest inventions. An automatic pancake maker graced the floor, feeding its visitors. A plasma screen hosted a mini video game tournament for those done browsing the floor. Gadgets from long ago graced the walls along with its modern counterparts. Anyone dropping by could add a LEGO creation to a growing landscape on the LEGO wall.

Occupy LEGO Land

The Occupy Wall Street movement has spread throughout the nation, giving birth to protest in cities across America. The protests have spurred thought about our government, societal structure, educational system and more. At a time when the economy has tanked and so many people are struggling to find jobs and opportunities, the call for change has taken on many forms. The Occupy protests have inspired some stunning art pieces, but one creative project thinks a little smaller.

Spotted recently in Zuccotti Park at the main Occupy Wall Street protest by Scott Beale, Occupy LEGO Land captures the scope of protest on a micro level. Tiny LEGO men and women gather together bearing their own protest signs, fed up with their plastic economy. The display has been at the protest for nearly a month and continues to expand. It looks as though some people have been heeding their sign of "LEGOs are expensive, Help Us Grow!" The microcosm of the movement has gained tiny protesters along with the real one.

Bionic Bopper Boxing Robots

Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots are a classic toy, passed down from parent to child for a few generations. It was a simple dynamic that wormed its way into the hearts of millions. The aim of the game was to control a clunky toy robot, aiming its clunky toy fists at its rival robot’s head until it shot upward. It was a game as simple, and nearly as vicious, as Hungry Hungry Hippos. With time, however, comes innovation and upgrades to classics. Monopoly has gone digital and even Scrabble has had a few facelifts.

Giant Rubber Duck in Osaka

Nothing is more adorable and terrifying than a giant version of something tiny. Take a kitten, baby, puppy, or anything that’s got a cute Youtube video and make it 20 feet tall and you’ve got a potential menace scarier than the Stay Puft mascot. This October in Osaka the most adorable sea creature loomed on the water. A giant rubber ducky appeared on the river near Nakanoshima Park, to the surprise of locals.

It’s Alive!: A Tribute to Frankenstein’s Monster

Frankenstein’s monster is one of the big bads at the spooky roundtable. In terms of notoriety, he’s up there with Dracula, but doesn’t quite get the same love. He’s misunderstood and tragic and his story’s just as interesting as any other Halloween legend, but he just can’t seem to get as much play. Maybe it’s because he settled down with his bride a while ago. Maybe it’s because he’s soft spoken. All the people at “It’s Alive!” know is that it’s time to pay him proper tribute.

It’s Alive! is a project that celebrates the 8 decades that Frankenstein’s monster has existed. Mary Shelley’s misunderstood creature and his creator have had innumerable incarnations over the years, and are part of some of the most retold stories in our culture. It’s Alive pays tribute with some more colorful depictions. Each artist involved with the project re-imagined 80 life size Boris Karloff Frankenstein busts. Painting and sculpting and reshaping the original image, each has breathed new life into some rather dusty bones.

Paintings Illuminated with Gold

There are plenty of ways that gold can look tacked on. From jewelry, to trinkets, and food, gold has been added to just about everything for a hint of extravagance on the merit of its worth. Brad Kunkle, however, looks at gold from every angle, and with a spark of inspiration, brings its beauty alive on the canvas. The artist is known for his oil paintings and experiments with elements that breathe new life into work inspired by early European paintings.

His introspective take on classics lead him to experiment with metals in his paintings. While working as a house painter, he was asked to gild a client’s office walls in copper. He was taken aback and inspired by the shine and movement the copper created--shining differently against the light depending on the angle where he stood. He wanted that shine and perspective shift to come to life in his own paintings. He starts with a sketch and begins to gild certain areas of his canvas, and from there works the two elements of paint and metal in together so that they blend seamlessly.

The National School of Underwater Painting

Performance art and art pieces that can be taken home rarely merge for a few good reasons. In 40 minutes, however, artists in the Ukraine both stun an audience and create paintings worthy of galleries. They do all this under water. This school of artists don their wetsuits and dive into the water of the Black Sea to create their work. Canvas in hand, they use their limited time to draw inspiration from their underwater finds.

The Starry Stairway to Heaven

It isn’t often that a single image causes us to catch our breath. Brilliant images of nature and the night sky can be found all over the internet. In fact, capturing the sky is a test for most photographers. It’s a challenge that strengthens a photographer’s knowledge and ability. However, in the hands of a veteran photographer, the night sky becomes something else entirely.

Thomas Zimmer, a well-known German photographer, has spent his life capturing beautiful landscape photos. He understands the elements necessary to capture the beauty of a scene. His work does not merely frame what is already there, but displays it in a way that inspires thought and awe. Recently, he captured the Milky Way in an astounding way over the island Sylt, in the German North Sea coast. The photo is dubbed “My God, it’s full of stars”--the final line in the book 2001: A Space Odyssey. The illuminated sky seems to open up, coming down to embrace the earth. It’s such a sight that the writers over at My Modern Met had to get the story behind it. After hours of taking photos, Zimmer describes his sudden inspiration:

“There were some stairs leading down the dunes and at the bottom, I took a last look. I realized that the Milky Way stood right above the stairs. I was stunned by the view. After setting up the tripod and the camera, I realized that something was missing at the top of the stairs: a human being staring at those stars.”

Indeed, the addition of one man changed the perspective of the image entirely. Zimmer’s quick thinking created an image unlike any other he’d taken that day.The story, however, doesn’t end there. For the full tale, check out My Modern Met’s write up.

To see more of Zimmer’s beautiful work, see his gallery here.