An employee of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency presents a space suit on the catwalk of the Hyper Space Couture Design competition that recently took place in Tokyo (image on the left.)

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Seen in 20 minutos (bigger caption.)

I honestly cannot see why designers bother creating new suits when the coolest has been invented and tested in the Mojave desert by Allyn Hazard in the 1960's. The Grumman/Space General allowed the astronaut to withdraw his arms from the flexible manipulators and work within the pressurised 'cabin' of the can enclosing his upper torso and head. More in the gallery and history of space suits

Back to the Japanese effort to have us look our best up there: Eri Matsui also designed a Zero Gavity wedding dress for space.

Archives: Russian spacesuit launched in space; the BioSuit, a suit for walking on Mars; women in spacesuits; Spray-on spacesuit.

And also: Soviet space monkey pants; Hiroaki Ohya's Astro Boy brand; blurry video of another fashion show.

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Crashed spacecraft surrounded by white butterflies, from Spaceship Junkyard, Russia, 2000. By Jonas Bendiksen.

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After the Soviet collapse, economic, political and ethnic disparities gave birth to a series of unrecognized republics, national aspirations and legacies. Bendiksen's "Satellites" is a photographic journey through the scattered enclaves, unrecognized mini-states, and other isolated communities that straddle the southern borderlands of the former USSR. The itinerary goes through places such as Transdniester, a breakaway republic in Eastern Europe, Abkhazia, an unrecognized country on the Black Sea, the religiously conservative Ferghana Valley in Central Asia, the spacecraft crash zones between Russia and Kazakhstan, and the Jewish Autonomous Regi. There's more images on the Magnum website.

Via artdaily.

Our Soviet selection: October 4, 1957, first satellite launched into space, Trip to abandoned Russian places, Hand-painted Russian movie posters, Soviet poster database, Soviet Unterzögersdorf, Soviet and Russian photography, Children's Books of the Early Soviet Era, Soviet anti-alcohol posters, etc.

A Barcelona-based architecture studio, Equip Claramunt, and a team of engineers from Florida have developed the prototype of a new space hotel for tourists and astronauts.

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Each room of the Galactic Suite is hosted in a capsule. The rooms are 7 meter wide and 4 meters high, they have no angle nor straight lines. Whenever they'd want to eat, sleep or watch the space through the huge windows, guest would "stick" --using velcro or similar systems-- to some protuberances on the sides of the room.

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Architect Xavier Claramunt explained that the hotel would be installed with the help of a space shuttle which would carry up to three rooms at a time. Up to 22 capsules in total would be affixed to the central nucleus.

So far only models and computer renderings have been created, the team is looking for investors.

Related: Robert Bigelow's inflatable space hotel.

Via 20 minutos, terra.

Fabian Winkler's PI (personal interpreters) is a set of small robotic devices, which deconstruct TV broadcasts' audio signals. The robots interpret the regular audio signal as control code and translate it into abstract rhythmic sounds.

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PIs can be plugged into the sound output of a TV set (via RCA cables). Using suction cups, individual modules can be attached anywhere to the surface of the TV. These modules translate the sound output from TV broadcasts into movements of mechanized parts that scratch, hit and thump on the surface of the TV set using it as a resonant body. The audience still sees the images but hears only the deconstructed sounds created by the robotic modules - vaguely reminding them of the original soundtrack but challenging them to interpret it in new ways.

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Check the project at ZeroOne San Jose, this summer.

For an intervention on images, and in a sousveillance/surveillance context this time, Austrian activists Quintessenz created an anonymous surveillance system that uses a face-recognition software to place a black stripe over the eyes of people whose images are recorded (via Wired).

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New Scientist reported today on a video surveillance system that scrambles people's faces to protect them from unwarranted monitoring. Developed by Swiss company EMITALL Surveillance, the algorithm of the technology singles out any people in a video feed, on the basis of their movement, and disguises them digitally while leaving the rest of the scene intact (Videos 1, 2 and 3). Only those in possession of the encryption key can unlock the scrambled regions and identify the people shown on-screen.

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The system can even use different encryption keys to scramble the identity of particular people under surveillance, says Touradj Ebrahimi, founder of EMITALL Surveillance (thanks Emily!)


More broadcast disruption
: SVEN - Surveillance Video Entertainment Network, a real-time video performance system that detects when people look like rock stars instead of criminals. Once a potential rock star is detected, music video effects are triggered so the surveillance stars get a treatment worthy of Cecil B himself; TV Predator, a picture frame that attacks the tv and prevent it from working properly; OiTV, a misbehaving attention-seeking TV.

Plans to spring-clean space junk orbiting Earth could result in the loss of irreplaceable historical artefacts, warns Alice Gorman of Flinders University in Adelaide. The researcher, who has previously called for space junk to be World Heritage listed, says it's time to assess the value of some of the millions of objects currently orbiting Earth.

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Space junk ranges from tiny scraps just millimetres in size to whole satellites. While some space junk undergoes an "automatic clean-up regime" by burning up when it re-enters the atmosphere, other items need to be physically removed.

Current proposals include using ground-based lasers to put objects off orbit and speed the rate of their burn-up, sending out 'space tugs' as roving garbage collectors or using tethers to rope and haul in bits of space debris.

Among the items that should recognised for their heritage value are the Vanguard One satellite, launched in 1958 and the oldest human object in space, and FedSat, the Australian designed and built satellite.

Preserving items like these could provide evidence of a nation's presence in space or help reconstruct a history of space exploration, says Gorman.

Via ABC News. Image.

Britain’s Defence Intelligence Staff have come up with "a reasonably justified explanation" to solve the mystery of UFO.

After a four-year inquiry, they have concluded that most sightings can be explained by a little-understood atmospheric phenomenon.

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Glowing "plasmas" of gas are created by charges of electricity. Air flows then sculpt the plasmas into round or cigar-shaped objects which appear to fly at extraordinary speeds through the sky.

Such plasmas can play tricks on the mind, creating vivid impressions. In addition, because plasmas are electrically charged, they can change shape or colour if hit by another energy source, such as a radio signal sent by a UFO spotter. "This has led ‘ufologists’ to imagine that an ‘alien response’ is being given to their signals," the report adds. As a result, UFO witnesses may not be mad but instead suffering from "extended memory retention and repeat experiences" induced by the plasmas.

The report goes on to recommend that the findings on UFOs could be developed for "novel military applications", adding that Russia is already investigating such weapons.

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It has been a bad year for fans of UFOs and green invaders. Last month, Special effects expert John Humphreys claimed he was one of the hoaxers behind the Roswell incident, footage supposedly showing an autopsy on alien corpses in 1947.

Related: UFO landing pad, Gallery of UFO images and US government documents (more UFO pics), British SF series UFO.

Via BBC news and The Times.

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