If the weekend of provocative public talks TEDxSydney accepted your application to be part of their 800-strong audience, then like me, you would have had the privilege of spending your Saturday sitting in a dark room listening to lecturers talk about their work.
However if you didn’t make the cut, or couldn’t afford the $160 entrance fee, you’d have been more than welcome to camp out in the hall with the rest of the plebs. The lectures and performances are broadcast free and speakers happily participate in lively Q&A sessions with their eager audience.
TEDxSydney, the local incarnation of the wildly successful TED events (TED standing for Technology, Entertainment and Design), was held at Carriageworks in Sydney over the weekend. Billed as “the ultimate brain spa”, participants were treated to performances from Tim Freedman and Katie Noonan, along with thought-provoking ideas from architects, philosophers and social entrepreneurs.
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Warning: this has nothing to do with politics. We thought we’d see how the Prime Minister and Opposition Leader would scrub up under a digital makeover of the kind you might find in a high-fashion glossy magazine. They have each had a bit of a facelift, lip and hairline enhancements and skin tone improvements from a professional image retoucher. Here’s Abbott’s dramatic transformation:
Notice the ears got a little tuck? And here’s the Prime Minister:
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Picture this. Somewhere in a laboratory in Zurich, a team of nerdy looking scientific guys with fruzzy hair and white coats are huddled around a stainless steel workbench. They are so engrossed in their project that they barely even notice the sound of atoms splitting in a nearby nuclear collider (or even the smoko bell, for that matter).
On the bench before them lies the blueprint for one of the most dastardly weapons against mankind ever invented. The Nerdy Scientist guys cackle gleefully as one of them adds yet another masterstroke of design to their drawing.
“Aha!” cries Professor Springbunger delightedly sketching his infamous vicious coil-shape, “Vee must never forget zat our ultimate aim is to ensure that zee person who uses ziss device suffers greatly.”
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They’re calling it Star Wars on the Water. The winged keel on Australia II looks about as innovative as furry dice on a Commodore against the designs of the two most technologically-advanced yachts ever built, expected to finally start racing tonight (Australian time) in the 33rd America’s Cup.
(Update: Racing was postponed again on Wednesday due to heavy seas. Next possible start is February 12.)
The open ended design rules for the match between defender Alinghi of Switzerland and challenger BMW Oracle of the USA have produced two stunning-looking craft which look more like they should be attacking a Death Star than bobbing about on the water.
A selection of pictures which hopefully capture the huge size and outrageous design of the boats follows, along with some trivia about the event. And perhaps most fun of all, the only thing bigger in yacht racing than the boats themselves is the egos at stake.
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[Editors’ note: This is in response to an article published in The Punch on Monday about 10-hour, four-day working weeks. Michael Honey’s business does just that.]
The indignities of modern working life are many, and one of the most onerous is the grind of the five-day working week. Two days of play after five days’ work is inadequate to renew our enthusiasm for life: we barely recover from the quintuple routine of waking to the alarm, commuting to work and back (to say nothing of what transpires in between), dining with our weary family and crashing to uneasy sleep; than we have to confront the thought, on a Sunday afternoon, that it all will begin again. A five-day work week leaves insufficient room for us to develop our sensitive natures: it makes us dull and cranky.
We run a small design studio with four fulltime staff. When we started up the place, one of my aims, as a refugee from the advertising agencies where I built my career, was to build a kinder, gentler, more humane organisation.
Former Prime Minister, Paul Keating, has long been a champion of better architecture and planning. Most recently, he caused a stir by describing our national capital as “a great mistake”.
Keating also lamented the bulldozing of much of Melbourne’s heritage in the 1970s, but even had a shot at some of the Victorian buildings that remained.
“I used to call it Whorehouse Rococo and Bordello Baroque”, he said. And he teased Australia’s “heritage mafia” for making a crust out of pretending that old buildings are of significance.
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I have a confession to make: I’ve been having an affair. Not the Tiger Woods type. The font type.
Like Tiger, it began when I was working overseas. First, I’d call an agent to book an hour with some exotic computer.
Editor’s note: Patrick Johnson is an Australian tailor and features in the 10th birthday edition of GQ magazine, which went on sale this week.
Top 10 suit crimes
Avoid wearing sports sunglasses with a suit. It doesn’t make you look like a blues brother, it makes you look like a PE teacher at a wedding.
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At last, the emaciated pink elephant in fashion’s corner has been acknowledged.
UK Vogue editor Alexandra Schulman recently sent a letter to the top designers in the business imploring them to make their sample sizes larger so she doesn’t have to hire models who are dangerously thin to just fit their garments.
It was a brave move at a time where advertisers are not only king in the magazine industry but omnipresent dictators, which took me back to my own fashion moment where I decided enough was enough.
I was working on an up-market glossy at the time and somehow managed to wrangle myself a seat beside a colleague at parade in Paris. Watching the models strut their spindly stuff on the catwalk, I was appalled to see their legs were only slightly thicker than the torturous spikes they teetered on.
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