The big picture

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A Great Green Wall


The Great Wall of China will have some competition when Africa’s Great Green Wall project comes to fruition. Once completed it will be the largest man-made structure on Earth and a new Wonder of the World. The project, backed by more than 20 African nations, received funding this week by world leaders and heads of international agencies at COP21–with $4 billion pledged over the next five years. The Wall aims to restore land and plant a 8,000km line of plants and trees across the entire African continent with the goal of providing food, jobs and a future for the millions of people who live in a region on the frontline of climate change.   

A virtual reality film–Growing a World Wonder–by Venturethree (who recently branded the project) producer Al Maxwell and VR specialists Apache has recently launched, telling the story of a young Senegalese girl and her family who have been given hope by the prospect of this Great Green Wall.

Bookshelf: What We’re Reading


The fourth volume in the Palette series Palette 04: Neon delves into the the brightest color that exists — neon. The color has made a remarkable comeback of late and is surfacing everywhere from fashion to furniture. For those engaged in green design, The Environmental Design Pocketbook, is filled with diagrams, tools, and tips to guide architects, planners, and engineers on how to meet sustainable standards. Representing the roots, foundation, and perspective of 44 unique architects, The Images of Architects offers a privileged look at the images that inspire their creative worlds.

Image via gpoo

Beautiful Science


The 21st-century is the golden age of data visualization. This phenomenon is evidenced in everything from film plots to the world’s billionaires being mapped and dissected into glossy, digitally produced pictorial compositions. A new exhibition at the British Library, Beautiful Science, reflects back on how complex information was displayed before the onset of computers. Serving as a time capsule of factual representation, the show features drawings that represent topics from Crimean war deaths to ocean currents with the oldest diagrams dating back to the early 17th-century. Art in themselves, the detailed illustrations of yore shed light on the incredible ways information has been distilled by hand.

Watson travels to Africa


IBM is bringing super computer Watson to Africa to assist researchers in tackling pressing needs in the healthcare, sanitation, education, human mobility, and infrastructure sectors. “Project Lucy,” named after our earliest known human descendant, is IBM’s ten-year and 100 million dollar initiative that gives scientists the time and resources to utilize Watson’s computing abilities to help solve Africa’s most crucial challenges. The compilation and analysis of big data will assist experts in comprehending the obstacles that contribute to Africa’s stagnate economy and pervasive poverty. Food prices, GDP, and the size of diseased populations are just a few of the categories the project will seek to better understand through data compilation and the identification of emerging patterns.

Image via

Global & Local Innovation


Using data gathered from 2013, Cornell University, INSTEAD and WIPO recently released the Global Innovation Index. The full report is available online, with Switzerland holding the highest ranking and United States re-entering the top five this year.  An article offering a cross-country perspective about the challenges between global and local innovation, discusses the vast differences between the needs of established and emerging markets, and the theory of “reverse innovation“. (image of Global Center for Health Innovation via Ted Eytan)

Wes Anderson World


Everything Wes Anderson touches becomes part of his carefully calibrated, engaging world. A new filmographyThe Wes Anderson Collection, by writer Matthew Zoller Seitz is no exception – the book itself meticulously designed, taking readers through the creation of each of Anderson’s films, woven with an in-depth interview by the author. The website for the book is even a journey into the Anderson style, with a terrific animation and video essays on each film.

Sound to Light

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“Murmur” is an installation that shows sounds in beautiful, enlightened visual form on a wall. Created by collaborators Chevalvert, 2Roqs, Polygraphik and Splank, the device allows users to talk, mumble, sing into a cone connected to an LED strip, which leads to a wall. As sounds are directed into the cone, in response lights travel up the strip to produce a reactive light show on the wall. Check out Murmur in use here.

Spatial Reasoning


Illustrator Ben Newman and Quantum Physics professor Dr. Dominic Walliman recently completed a terrific new book that runs through all the wonders of space, guided by a cat astronaut. Professor Astro Cat’s Frontiers of Space is a journey for kids interested in the topic, covering gravity, extraterrestrial life, and the solar system in a fun, digestible and beautifully illustrated format.

Rainbow Ceiling


A new installation by French-born, Tokyo-based architect Emmanuelle Moureaux creates a hovering rainbow of color within a space, using 840 sheets of paper. ‘100 Colors’ shows off that many hues selected from Japanese paper maker Takeo, each hanging in a line suspended from the ceiling. White beanbags are placed below to encourage visitors to experience the colors from various angles, and circles representing each color line the walls, where visitors can mark their favorite hue.


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