Tuesday, December 13, 2011

IKEA + Toys for Tots = Double Charity Bonus

In these tough financial times, GDL Studio looks to get the most bang for its charity buck. GDL Studio recently purchased a few dozen stuffed toys from IKEA, which gives a dollar to UNICEF and Save The Children for each toy sold. We then transported this fuzzy herd to a Washington, DC-area Toys for Tots collection site. There's still time for you to help make some kids' holiday season a little brighter!

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Thursday, December 8, 2011

Pillow houses, Tetris furniture, and solar power

ow GDL Studio realizes it is December, but there is one tidbit from summer we’d like to share. One advantage to living in the Washington, DC, area is the National Solar Decathlon arrives every two years.

College teams design and build experimental homes that don’t draw power from the grid. As the competition’s name implies, solar power is big. One entry stood out for external and internal reasons.

From a distance, the Southern California Institute of Architecture and California Institute of Technology team’s entry resembled a giant pillow. The structure seemed more like astronaut housing for Mars as opposed to something that could blend in with a smattering of suburban ranch-style homes.

The students were probably tired of answering questions about using special vinyl fabric siding instead of metal or wood material. But they patiently explained that just as traditional houses need to be repainted or re-sided every once in a while, you would need to change your house’s fabric cover. Maybe it would be easier to patch a hole in your fabric wall versus needing to replace damaged metal siding?

GDL Studio is not ready to move into a fabric house, but we did see some funky flexible furniture showcased. Most competition homes are pretty small. Since floor space is at a premium, a student designed seating of various shapes that can be stacked into a Tetris-like formation. The lightweight pieces can be pulled out when needed and stowed against a wall.

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Saturday, December 3, 2011

A “Q” for Periodic Table Element Namers

ost likely you’ve never noticed what the periodic table of elements is missing: J and Q. The recent announcement about two newly named elements poised to join the periodic table reminded GDL Studio of a typographical imbalance. There are no atomic symbols with J or Q.

While GDL Studio provisionally welcomes Flerovium, Fl,  and Livermorium, Lv, to the family of elements, this might be seen as a missed opportunity to get more of the alphabet involved in science. There is a public comment period now open on the proposed names, so there is a chance something could change with the names.
Certainly, this is not the last chance for J and Q to join the atomic symbols club, as there are elements remaining to be discovered. (Physicists of Quebec and Jamaica, let's get discovering...)

Wondering which letter tops the heap on the current periodic table? R rings in with 19 appearances. A may lead off the alphabet, but it occupies second place on the table with 16 cameos.

GDL Studio is (mostly) sure J and Q never did anything to anger the good folks who manage the official naming process, but now is the time to show some love to these missing letters. The naming process has a democratic element, so spread the word and weigh in with some choices to put J and Q on the periodic map. 

Who or what do you think is worthy of being honored with these neglected letters on the periodic table?

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