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Peter Shelton //SFAC Public Art

San Francisco Might Get a Bridge With Glowing-Eyed Cat Sculptures

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Peter Shelton //SFAC Public Art

San Francisco may soon be home to an odd piece of public art. One of the three final designs being considered for the pedestrian bridge section of the Moscone Expansion Project, Peter Shelton’s “Catbridge” is certainly unique. His proposal would include several pedestal-mounted cat sculptures, each sporting at least two faces and two sets of glowing eyes that would be used to light up the bridge at night. 

Shelton says the design draws inspiration from the two-faced Roman god, Janus. In his proposal he writes:

“Janus is the two-faced God of transitions—of gates and doors, doorways, endings, and time. In ancient sculpture, we usually encounter his dual faces looking both forwards into the future and backwards into the past.”

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He also provided an image of what these demonic glowing eyes might look like on such a sculpture, which he captioned “two kitties in the night.” 

SFAC Public Art

You can check out his concept art below, and see art from the other two finalists on the San Francisco Art Commission’s website. The winning proposal will be announced early next year.

Peter Shelton //SFAC Public Art

Peter Shelton //SFAC Public Art

Peter Shelton //SFAC Public Art

[h/t: City Lab]

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technology
This High-Tech Material Can Change Shape Like an Octopus
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Octopuses can do some pretty amazing things with their skin, like “see” light, resist the pull of their own sticky suction cups, and blend in seamlessly with their surroundings. That last part now has the U.S. Army interested, as Co.Design reports. The military branch’s research office has funded the development a new type of morphing material that works like an octopus’s dynamic skin.

The skin of an octopus is covered in small, muscular bumps called papillae that allow them to change textures in a fraction of a second. Using this mechanism, octopuses can mimic coral, rocks, and even other animals. The new government-funded research—conducted by scientists at Cornell University—produced a device that works using a similar principle.

“Technologies that use stretchable materials are increasingly important, yet we are unable to control how they stretch with much more sophistication than inflating balloons,” the scientists write in their study, recently published in the journal Science. “Nature, however, demonstrates remarkable control of stretchable surfaces.”

The membrane of the stretchy, silicone material lays flat most of the time, but when it’s inflated with air, it can morph to form almost any 3D shape. So far, the technology has been used to imitate rocks and plants.

You can see the synthetic skin transform from a two-dimensional pad to 3D models of objects in the video below:

It’s easy to see how this feature could be used in military gear. A soldier’s suit made from material like this could theoretically provide custom camouflage for any environment in an instant. Like a lot of military technology, it could also be useful in civilian life down the road. Co.Design writer Jesus Diaz brings up examples like buttons that appear on a car's dashboard only when you need them, or a mixing bowl that rises from the surface of the kitchen counter while you're cooking.

Even if we can mimic the camouflage capabilities of cephalopods, though, other impressive superpowers, like controlling thousands of powerful suction cups or squeezing through spaces the size of a cherry tomato, are still the sole domain of the octopus. For now.

[h/t Co.Design]

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Animals
25 Benefits of Adopting a Rescue Dog
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According to the ASPCA, 3.3 million dogs enter shelters each year in the United States. Although that number has gone down since 2011 (from 3.9 million) there are still millions of dogs waiting in shelters for a forever home. October is Adopt a Shelter Dog Month; here are 25 benefits of adopting a shelter dog.

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