Wired


Rio de Janeiro’s Transit Solution: Cable Cars Over the Favelas

Publication:
Date: 
February 28, 2011
The slums of Rio de Janeiro—the infamous favelas—pile onto and up and over the city’s iconic steep hillsides. Simply getting from point A to point B requires a sub-alphabet of zigzaggery up stairs, over switchbacks, and through alleyways that can be just a few feet wide.

There’s nowhere for public transit to go. Nowhere, that is, but up.

That’s the direction for the newest transportation system in Rio, slated to open in March: a six-station gondola line running above a collection of favelas known as the Complexo do Alemão. The government says that 152 gondolas will carry 30,000 people a day along a 2.1-mile route over the neighborhood, transforming the hour-and-a-half trudge to a nearby commuter rail station into a 16-minute sky ride.

Grad Student Watches Gitmo Grow With Google Earth

Publication:
Date: 
December 27, 2010
While doing research on prisons and internment for his archaeology PhD at Stanford, 28-year-old Adrian Myers happened to point Google Earth at Guantànamo Bay, the notorious US prison on the island of Cuba.

Shockingly, it wasn’t blurred out—the image was as clear as the one of your house. Of course, the government and military would prefer that information about Gitmo be kept locked up in some out-of-the-way place. But using Google Earth’s time slider, which calls up imagery from different dates, Myers saw significant growth in the prison’s footprint between April 2003 and November 2004. With another commercial satellite image from February 2008, he assembled a map of the holding pen’s expansion.

The Lowly Billboard Gets a Makeover on the Sunset Strip

Publication:
Date: 
December 13, 2015
The common billboard, reimagined by Los Angeles-based Lorcan O'Herlihy Architects.

Billboards exist to attract attention. And, thanks to clever advertising techniques and seductive imagery, they often succeed. But while the imagery of billboards is optimized to lure eyeballs, the armature that holds that imagery is pretty much invisible.

So when ACE Advertising and the City of West Hollywood commissioned architect Lorcan O’Herlihy’s to redesign a billboard on the city’s famous Sunset Strip, he decided to focus on making that armature a more integral and interesting part of the billboard.

A Mobile Opera Cruises Downtown LA

Publication:
Date: 
October 1, 2015
Hopscotch, an opera set in 24 limousines and SUVs driving around downtown LA

To experience Hopscotch, an opera set in 24 limousines and SUVs driving around downtown LA, the audience will sit knee-to-knee with singers and musicians. Over the course of the show’s run in October and November, the cars will drive three routes, tracking a story of the search for a lost love. Actors and dancers with wireless mics will perform on the sidewalk and in cars passing by, mixing with the ballet of everyday city life. ...

An Airport in the Airport for Celebs and Other Elite Fliers

Publication:
Date: 
October 1, 2015
The swanky and exclusive Delta One lounge in LAX’s Terminal 5

More than 70 million people passed through Los Angeles International Airport in 2014—a jet-lagged gauntlet of wheely bags and neck pillows. Now LAX is getting an upgrade, a more than $8 billion overhaul of everything from concession areas to moving walkways. Delta kicked in $229 million to rework its Terminal 5. The revamp includes Delta One, a sort of airport within the airport that caters to celebrities and the wealthy. It presages a future where airports are less ad hoc, better organized, and not so dehumanizing. ...

Making Flat, Mid-Century Comic Book Characters Look 3-D for Tintin

Publication:
Date: 
November 29, 2011
The elaborate motion-capture animation in Steven Spielberg’s new movie, The Adventures of Tintin, belies the simple lines of the original Belgian comic books.

In the film, the eponymous young reporter (plus plucky dog Snowy and the hard-drinking Captain Haddock) embark on the globe-trotting adventures that readers will remember from The Crab With the Golden Claws, The Secret of the Unicorn, and Red Rackham’s Treasure. But visually, the films have to evoke the books without looking exactly like them.

Godfather of Green

Publication:
Date: 
August 22, 2011
Want to outfit your home with the edgiest in eco-tech? Just ask engineer Jerry Yudelson.

Green building and carbon-neutral living might seem like recent ideas, but engineer Jerry Yudelson has been in the environmentally friendly building business for 14 years. Today he directs a consulting firm in Tucson, Arizona, and his name is on a dozen books about green design. Before LEED certification (that’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, to us non-pros) was a glimmer in any architect’s eye, Yudelson was pushing for solar houses. And he still is.

Carbon-Free Chicago

Publication:
Date: 
August 22, 2011
The Windy City’s first net-zero-energy home employs a butterfly roof and other smart design ideas to help it unplug from the grid.

Homes are responsible for 23 percent of the energy used in the US and 18 percent of carbon emissions. In cities like Chicago, where the temperature can vary by 100 degrees, heating and cooling bills can be bank-breakers. But it doesn’t have to be this way. Five years ago, local architecture and urban-design firm Farr Associates was asked to solve the problem. The company built a 2,600-square-foot house that is now “very, very close” to generating all of its own power, architect Jonathan Boyer says.

Staten Island Stink-Bomb Landfill Gets Makeover

Publication:
Date: 
November 1, 2010
The Fresh Kills Landfill on Staten Island was, for decades, the largest landfill in the world, taking in up to 29,000 tons a day of New York City trash for sequestration in what used to be a nice stretch of tidal wetland.

But after the last shipment of junk was unloaded back in 2001, the city saw an opportunity to give this 2,200-acre landfill—where the trash was piled nearly as high as the Statue of Liberty in some places—a more beautiful future.

Deja Poo: The Living Machine Sewage System

Publication:
Date: 
May 22, 2009
Picture the lobby atrium of a new, green building, one filled with leafy plants and trees. Now imagine that those trees are growing in waste collected from the building's toilets.

If that idea has the whiff of failure about it, well, sniff again...