Iconoclast : Dean Kamen

We have all heard of the Segway, the amazing individual traveling gizmo. It is an idea that gets us that much closer to the future, to a more sustainable and simple concept of living. The inventor behind this is Dean Kamen, who is more than just an engineer and entrepreneur. He is an advocate for a better way of life. His role as an inventor is strengthened by his passion for using science and technology to our advantage. To creating practical solutions for problems that exist in the world, some being a matter of life and death.

(yup, that's me)

As an inventor, he holds more than 440 U.S. and foreign patents, many of them for innovative medical devices that have expanded the frontiers of health care worldwide. These inventions allow him to work on his many free-flowing ideas. Ideas that can very much change our world.

Two of those ideas which have been built and put to use, are each about the size of a washing machine. One, a basic generator, makes a kilowatt off of literally anything that burns. Last year, prototypes of Kamen's power machines were installed in two villages in Bangladesh for a six-month field trial, using cow dung as the power source. Each machine could continuously output enough to light 70 energy-efficient bulbs.

The second invention, called the Slingshot, is a water purification system that comes easily bundled and ready to use. The Slingshot works by taking in contaminated water -even raw sewage - and separating out the clean water by vaporizing it. It then shoots the remaining sludge back out a plastic tube.

Imagine the possibilities. More than that, imagine what these simple tools would do for such communities. The market potential is astonishing – about 1.1 billion people in the world don't have access to clean drinking water, and another 1.6 billion don't have electricity. How’s this for an incentive? Kamen says we could potentially "wipe out 50% of human disease." If that’s not an indicator to take action, I don’t know what is.

So, why hasn’t this caught on yet? It is obviously a life saver and a great investment for any company. What is the problem?
Why aren’t we saving lives?

Because, as Dean puts it, the idea is the easy part. Creating something that is needed is simple. The hard part is changing people’s minds. Making them believe that new ideas are smart ideas, that science and technology IS the answer. If I had $100,000 this would be the best way to pay it forward.


King MJ

The news of Michael Jackson's death really hit the world hard. Everywhere I go, I overhear people talking about him. Some good, some nasty (I almost got in a fight with this one couple). I wanted to remember him for his talents, his extraordinary musical gift, the way he made me feel (ha)

Music is a huge part of my life. When I think about my family and my upbringing, music definitely goes hand in hand with who we are. Everything related to music surrounded me from the moment I entered the world. My parents would sit us down and we would just listen to record upon record. The first TAPE that I ever bought, to put in my new boombox, was Dangerous. The whole thing, from start to finish, just moved me so much I was known for repeating that album over and over. His songs really are a part of me. I remember seeing his 'Thriller' video for the first time on MTV, it was surreal. Scary in a way, but absolutely intoxicating. And of course The Wiz. One of my favorite roles of his ever.

I feel compelled to write more, but I won't. This is simply in remembrance of a legacy of our time. A person who has been a part of my world and culture for as long as I can remember, and whose tunes will always be a part of my heart.


Like Stickwork

If I was a hobbit, or a character from a fairy tale, I could very will picture myself in the homey structures designed by Patrick Dougherty. His creations call forth visions of a simpler world in keeping with nature and the whimsy of life. Each installation seems to fit in perfectly with its surroundings.Growing up in the woods of North Carolina, Patrick Dougherty developed a fascination with the beauty of bare winter branches from stripped down trees. Combining his carpentry skills with his love for nature, Dougherty began to learn more about primitive techniques of building and to experiment with tree saplings as construction material. He praises the sapling as available, renewable and well adapted to weaving into sculpture.

Dougherty's large abstract sculptures are intended to respect nature and add to the natural surroundings. He has created over 160 works during his career as a sculptor.

Discover more at : www.stickwork.net


The Altered Reality of Miles Aldridge

Miles Aldridge is both an artist of the subconscious, and a fashion photographer. His work is like looking through the pages of the fashion magazines he has photographed for. Ultra glossy, vibrant colors dripping off the page, and drop dead gorgeous models. However, there is more to these photographs. There is an underlying cinematic point of view that shines through. His work is beautiful, yet mysterious, and leaves you dreaming within his alternative universe.

Miles Aldridge's provocative shots are over-saturated and make you a touch uneasy. Aldridge does this to signify the reality he yearns to see. "If the world were pretty enough, I'd shoot on location all the time," confides Aldridge. "But the world is just not being designed with aesthetics as a priority. So I prefer to rebuild the world instead of photographing the real one."
Over the past decade, Aldridge's work, often described as erotic, dreamlike and at times a little spooky, started his career as an illustrator, created many music videos and has landed photographic assignments for magazines such as British Vogue, Paris Vogue, American Vogue, Vogue Italia and The New York Times Magazine as well as advertising for YSL, Armani, Longchamp and Hugo Boss. His work is often compared to such artists as Salvidor Dali, Alfred Hitchcock and Godard.
His new exhibit is now showing at the Steven Kasher Gallery, in New York City. On display will be over 25 of Aldridge's images.
May 28–June 20. Steven Kasher Gallery, 521 W. 23rd St.