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Imagine sky writing on the ground using water and a modified tricycle – this is Water Calligraphy Device by French Canadian media artist Nicholas Hanna

Inspired by the water and brush calligraphy of older artists in his local Beijing parks, Hanna converted a Beijing tricycle, called a san lun che, to digitally “paint” (or more accurately drip) Chinese characters onto the sidewalk. The characters write out Dongcheng District Propaganda phrases that are on banners and housing developments in the district.

The trike would catch quite a bit of attention in the streets, as seen in these two 2011 videos by Jonah Kessel. According to Kessel, the tricycle drips:

营造 未成年人健康成长的良好环境
Create a good environment for minors to grow up healthy

文明从脚下起步 奉献从身边做起
Civilization comes from every individual, to contribute from every little thing

树文明新风 做文明市民
Be a civilized citizen and build a civilized new atmosphere for constructing s cultured and civilized city

共建文明城区 共享美好家园
Build a civilized city for everyone to share a beautiful home altogether

做文明有礼北京人 建和谐魅力新东城
Be civilized and polite Beijingers, to build a harmonious charm new Dong Cheng district together

美德贵在坚持 文明重在行动
Virtue shows through long term persistence, civilization reflects by actions

和谐东城 你我共建
Harmonious Dong Cheng District constructed by you and me

建全国文明城区 做东城文明市民
Constructs the national civilized district, to be the civilized citizen of Dong Cheng District

The project was first shown at Beijing Design Week in 2011. Hanna now lives in Los Angeles where he works as an artist and designer.

Related videos in the archives: Robo-rainbow and Osaka City Station’s “water printer” fountain.

There’s something I was told when I was a kid that I’ve always found true: life is complicated, and the closer you look at it the messier it gets. There are no easy answers. This is true of science just as it is of politics or relationships or really anything else.

A quote from a nice blog post by Puff the Mutant Dragon on what is worthy of concern and what is a waste of time when it comes to the food we eat.  Read it!

Chemical Reaction Caused Fatal Firework Explosion


Authorities in Lake Havasu City, Ariz., say a chemical reaction between fireworks and mixing compounds being transported in a car caused an explosion that fatally injured a California man.

Lake Havasu City Fire Marshal Chip Shilosky says the explosion occurred as 59-year-old Randy Feldman of Menlo Park and another man were driving on State Route 95 in Lake Havasu City on Feb. 12.

Read more:

I am intrigued.  What are these “mixing compounds” of which they speak? And why was a man driving around with them and fireworks in a  car?


February is Black History Month.  Let’s take time to celebrate the work of Lewis Phectic Haslett an African American inventor who in 1849 received a patent for his Inhaler or Lung Protector, the predecessor to the modern gas mask.  Lewis P. Haslett’s simple device lead the way to the more technologically advanced masks used during the two World Wars to protect soldiers and their horses from poison gas attacks.  This field manual titled Defense Against Chemical Attack published in 1940 by the War Department shows soldiers the correct way to wear a mask and how to put a mask on your war horse.

Make sure you have secured your own mask before helping your horse with its mask.