Do Or Do Not

There is no try.

Dan and Chris Steininger duo are two of the world’s seven LEGO Master Builders and the only father and son duo. They were flown into Melbourne from a country far, far away (the United States) to build the most iconic spacecraft from the Star Wars universe.

Families join forces at a LEGO event to build the Millennium Falcon to celebrate Star Wars Day at Westfield Southland
Families join forces at a LEGO event to build the Millennium Falcon to celebrate Star Wars Day at Westfield Southland

It took two days, but, thanks to a helping hand from scores of families and fans, the pair were able to snap together the final Lego bricks of the Millennium Falcon just in time for International Star Wars Day. As Han Solo once said, “You’ve never heard of the Millennium Falcon? She’s the ship that made the Kessel Run in less than 12 parsecs.”

World's largest LEGO Millennium Falcon built in Melbourne
World’s largest LEGO Millennium Falcon built in Melbourne

The master builders had to use an estimated 250,000 grey bricks over the two-day build at Westfield Southland shopping centre.

Do or do not

Alongside Han Solo’s iconic freighter, the pair also built two Imperial TIE fighters, along with help from visitors to the Westfield Southland shopping centre. Visitors were invited to choose a side, the Galactic Empire or the Rebels, to determine with which project they would assist.

TIE Fighter
TIE Fighter

The Millennium Falcon is a real tour de force, measuring nearly 5 metres. The TIE Fighters are a little smaller, but nevertheless fabulous: each stands two metres high and is made of around 80,000 Lego bricks.

“Usually models the size of the Millennium Falcon can take more than a week to build and it was thanks to the Aussie fans that we were able to build a model of this size in such a short time,” Dan Steininger said.

“This model was ground-breaking for LEGO because of the way it stretches out wide. Normally when we build big LEGO builds they stand tall, so this was both an exciting and challenging experience for Chris and myself. It was very inspiring to see thousands of Melbournians come together, dress up, play and help build these iconic Star Wars vehicles — we certainly couldn’t have finished without them!”

The pair admit to being big Star Wars fans. They built the world’s largest Darth Vader in Sydney last year, which ended up being more than three-metres tall.

Do or do not

The fighter models will be on display at Westfield Southland until May 10, but if you don’t have a hyperdrive to get there, you can check out a time lapse of the build in the video below.

If you are into Lego Star Wars, get ready for an invasion of Star Wars sets. Lego’s new Star Wars collection is one of the largest and most diverse since its launch in 1999. Lego unveiled 32 new sets of Star Wars vehicles and characters at New York City’s Toy Fair in February, based on the original Star Wars movies and various animated TV shows and video games. The company has yet to reveal any sets from the upcoming film ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’, though it says those are on the way.

Lego is also releasing the Ultimate Collector Series TIE fighter this month. The large-scale Lego rendition of the Imperial starfighter has an opening top hatch as well as an exclusive TIE fighter pilot minifigure equipped with a blaster pistol. It comes with a display stand and an informative plaque too! Once you put together all 1,685 pieces, the impressive vessel measures 47 centimeters by 30.6 centimeters by 31 centimeters.

TIE Fighter
TIE Fighter

May The 4th Be With You

May The 4th Be With You

Concentrate! Feel the Force….

May The 4th Be With You

Is the Force going to bring us cupcakes?

May The 4th Be With You

Training Jedi for 800 years I have, cupcakes I have used not.

May The 4th Be With You

If you had used cupcakes, you might have trained them faster!

May The 4th Be With You

Mmm… Cupcakes!

May The 4th Be With You

Hmm. Nine hundred years old I reach, look good I still do. Bears for one day I train, look as good I will not.

May The 4th Be With You

Do you want a cupcake?

May The 4th Be With You

Impressive. Most impressive. Obi-Wan has taught you well. You show no fear.

May The 4th Be With You

Truly wonderful, the mind of a bear is.

May The 4th Be With You

Chasing Cherries Around the World

Cherries by Takashi Murakami
Cherries by Takashi Murakami

Check out the sculpture in the lobby of the 39-story tower at 540 Madison Ave, New York. This is where Takashi Murakami’s Cherries sculpture graces the modern Moed de Armas & Shannon Architects-designed lobby, complementing its Taemo wood (a Japanese ash), marble, and limestone interior. Here, Jones Lang LaSalle’s Cynthia Wasserberger, who leases the building along with Randy Abend and Amanda Saltzman, does double duty as curator. I have her contact details 🙂

A Cherry Too Far?

We’re turning into the cherry fashion police…

Sometimes what happens on the runway stays on the runway, other times it filters through to retailers, and more times still what happens on the runway should have stayed on the runway.

Nothing says way over the top like giant headgear. Would you balance a giant object on top of your head? Do tell…

Cherry Headbands by Piers Atkinson
Cherry Headbands by Piers Atkinson
Cherry Headbands by Piers Atkinson
Cherry Headbands by Piers Atkinson
Cherry Headbands by Piers Atkinson
Cherry Headbands by Piers Atkinson

While the giant cherries look pretty cute on the model, in a strictly fashion shoot only kind of way, out on the street, not so sure… The headbands came in baby blue, pink, lilac, orange, yellow and red-black glitter. Dare to wear?

If you dare, red, black and black-glitter cherries are available on the Piers Atkinson website.

http://www.piersatkinson.com

Exact looks from the runway are rarely replicated, down to the last thread, in the real world. Unless you’re Anna Dello Russo, the Italian-born fashion director and editor-at-large of Vogue Japan. She is a one-woman fashion show. Her personal style has catapulted her to the status of street-style icon. She lives in Milan with her dog, Cucciolina, and has a second apartment for her extensive wardrobe, which includes a few thousand shoes. Her boyfriend lives in yet another place, because her wardrobe takes up all the space!

A Cherry Too Far?

A Cherry Too Far?

Anna is pretty much in a league of her own when it comes to her headgear. She even feels it’s her responsibility to keep head pieces alive, which is good for Alan Journo, the man who makes all of her hats.

A Cherry Too Far?

Not sure I would dare to wear giant cherries on my head. A big orange pom-pom, yes, giant cherries, no 🙂

The Cherry World of YSL

Spring/Summer 2015
Spring/Summer 2015

Generally I don’t like black accessories, but there might be moments for exceptions, especially when Cherries are involved! This season, they are in the YSL collection, or as they have been known for a couple of years now, Saint Laurent Paris. You can actually google ‘what happened to the Yves in YSL’!

I still prefer Murakami’s LV cherries (they had a sense of whimsy with their smiley faces!! and they are not on black). The YSL cherries are nowhere as good looking, but the Saint Laurent Wallet with Golden Chain is growing on me. I am thinking it might have more to do with the traditional YSL logo (which I prefer and which is très chic) and with the gold chain. Possibly not a good enough reason to spend £1,110 plus postage from Selfridges in London (the only store that has it in stock) plus GST! In the meantime, I found a way cooler cherry bag at Selfridges!

Undercover cherry clutch
Undercover cherry clutch, £1,515

Red is bold, and cherries are sexy, playful and good for you! You wear cherries on black, you can’t walk around unnoticed. On second thought, I might not additional help to attract attention…

The combination of black and red is eye-catching and also used by Louis Vuitton for the recently launched ‘Monogram Infrarouge’ (the standard monogram red and bold on a black background).

Louis Vuitton Monogram Infrarouge Dora Bag
Louis Vuitton Monogram Infrarouge Dora Bag

The Ready-to-Wear YSL collection (ready to wear only if you are a French 38) includes some cherry printed items. Definitely not interested in them. The launch of the Spring/Summer collection opened with the cherry printed one-shouldered fluttery dress.

YSL Ready to Wear 2015 Spring Collection
YSL Ready to Wear 2015 Spring Collection

There is also a blouse and a t-shirt.

YSL Ready to Wear 2015 Spring Collection
YSL Ready to Wear 2015 Spring Collection

This is not the first time YSL has included cherry prints. The 2010 collection included a fairly boring cherry dress.

YSL Ready to Wear 2010 Spring Collection
YSL Ready to Wear 2010 Spring Collection

And then there was the 2001 collection with some serious cherries and the French way to wear them 🙂

YSL Ready to Wear 2001 Spring Collection
YSL Ready to Wear 2001 Spring Collection

Puffles and Honey Costume Party

Tokyo DisneySea makes some pretty amazing outfits for Mickey, Minnie, Duffy and Shellie-May, and amazing beary outfits…

Tokyo DisneySea 10th Anniversary
Tokyo DisneySea 10th Anniversary
Tokyo DisneySea 10th Anniversary
Tokyo DisneySea 10th Anniversary

Puffles and Honey are wearing the magical outfits today… Spitting image 🙂

Puffles and Honey Costume Party

Star Festival 2014 at Tokyo Disneyland
Star Festival 2014 at Tokyo Disneyland
Star Festival 2014 at Tokyo Disneyland
Star Festival 2014 at Tokyo Disneyland

Isabelle and Jay are wearing the Star Festival outfits…

Puffles and Honey Costume Party

Duffy and Shellie-May Spring 2015
Duffy and Shellie-May Spring 2015
Duffy and Shellie-May Spring 2015
Duffy and Shellie-May Spring 2015

Shellie-May and Theo are wearing the Spring 2015 outfits, with pants!

Puffles and Honey Costume Party

Duffy  in his Sweet Duffy Outfit 2010 at Tokyo DisneySea
Duffy in his Sweet Duffy Outfit 2010 at Tokyo DisneySea

Olivia and Percy are wearing the Sweet Duffy _complete_ outfits! This no pants business is most unbecoming!

Puffles and Honey Costume Party

Puffles and Honey Costume Party

Ellie and Francis are wearing the traditional Mickey and Minnie costumes…

Puffles and Honey Costume Party

There were some really cool outfits for the summer festival in 2012, but they have totally sold out 😦

Mickey and Minnie wear Soryo Kobu dance outfits for Natsu Matsuri Festival 2012 at Tokyo Disneyland
Mickey and Minnie wear Soryo Kobu dance outfits for Natsu Matsuri Festival 2012 at Tokyo Disneyland
Mickey shows off his Soryo Kobu dance moves at Natsu Matsuri Festival 2012 at Tokyo Disneyland
Mickey shows off his Soryo Kobu dance moves at Natsu Matsuri Festival 2012 at Tokyo Disneyland

Still, plenty of costume for a party…

Puffles and Honey Costume Party

Puffles and Honey Costume Party

Fireworks for Hubble

http://hubblesite.org

Westerlund 2. Credit: NASA
Westerlund 2. Credit: NASA

NASA and ESA are celebrating the Hubble Space Telescope’s silver anniversary of 25 years in space by unveiling some of nature’s own fireworks — a giant cluster of about 3,000 stars called Westerlund 2, named for Swedish astronomer Bengt Westerlund, who discovered the grouping in the 1960s. The cluster resides in a raucous stellar breeding ground known as Gum 29, located 20,000 light-years away from Earth in the constellation Carina.

To capture this image, Hubble’s Wide Field Camera 3 pierced through the dusty veil shrouding the stellar nursery in near-infrared light, giving astronomers a clear view of the nebula and the dense concentration of stars in the central cluster. The cluster measures between 6 to 13 light-years across.

The giant star cluster is only about 2 million years old and contains some of our galaxy’s hottest, brightest, and most massive stars. Some of its heftiest stars unleash torrents of ultraviolet light and hurricane-force winds of charged particles that etch at the enveloping hydrogen gas cloud.

The nebula reveals a fantasy landscape of pillars, ridges, and valleys. The pillars, composed of dense gas and thought to be incubators for new stars, are a few light-years tall and point to the central star cluster. Other dense regions surround the pillars, including reddish-brown filaments of gas and dust.

The brilliant stars sculpt the gaseous terrain of the nebula and help create a successive generation of baby stars. When the stellar winds hit dense walls of gas, the shockwaves may spark a new torrent of star birth along the wall of the cavity. The red dots scattered throughout the landscape are a rich population of newly forming stars still wrapped in their gas-and-dust cocoons. These tiny, faint stars are between 1 million and 2 million years old — relatively young stars — that have not yet ignited the hydrogen in their cores. The brilliant blue stars seen throughout the image are mostly foreground stars.

Because the cluster is very young — in astronomical terms — it has not had time to disperse its stars deep into interstellar space, providing astronomers with an opportunity to gather information on how the cluster formed by studying it within its star-birthing environment.

The image’s central region, which contains the star cluster, blends visible-light data taken by Hubble’s Advanced Camera for Surveys with near-infrared exposures taken by the Wide Field Camera 3. The surrounding region is composed of visible-light observations taken by the Advanced Camera for Surveys. The red colors in the nebulosity represent hydrogen; the bluish-green hues are predominantly oxygen.

NASA named the world’s first space-based optical telescope after American astronomer Edwin P. Hubble (1889—1953). Dr. Hubble confirmed an “expanding” universe, which provided the foundation for the Big Bang theory.

The Hubble Space Telescope was launched 25 years ago, on April 24, 1990, from space shuttle Discovery (STS-31). The Hubble Space Telescope is a project of international cooperation between NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA).

Ever since Galileo, astronomers have used telescopes to study the sources of light from the universe, near and far. Stars, galaxies, nebulae, and planets too far away for humans to visit become accessible by studying the information contained in their radiation that travels to our telescopes. And yet after a journey of sometimes thousands or even billions of light-years, the light from these distant sources can be blurred or obscured by Earth’s atmosphere before it reaches our telescopes on the ground. The Hubble Space Telescope solves this dilemma by orbiting the Earth above the atmosphere, providing crystal-clear images that have opened our eyes to a universe barely imagined before.

The Hubble Space Telescope in orbit around the Earth. Credit: NASA
The Hubble Space Telescope in orbit around the Earth. Credit: NASA

The exquisite angular resolution that Hubble can achieve allows us to see individual stars in dense clusters, revealing rich varieties of stars, like gemstones: red and blue, bright and faint. Astronomers study populations of stars to determine their age, composition, and how they formed. Stars and interstellar gas make up galaxies, which themselves can be beautiful spiral pinwheels, rotating and sometimes even merging with one another.

The Omega Centauri Globular Star Cluster. Credit: NASA
The Omega Centauri Globular Star Cluster. Credit: NASA

Hubble also shows us the sheer magnitude of the universe. There are at least 200 billion stars in our own Milky Way galaxy alone, and hundreds of billions of other galaxies within the observable universe. Hubble’s sensitive camera is allowing us to see some of the faintest, most distant galaxies ever detected. The light from these ancient objects has traveled over 13 billion years to get to us, traversing space that is itself stretching and expanding, reddening the light that we see. Light from some distant galaxies is actually magnified, and its path altered, by the gravitational effects of massive clusters of galaxies it passes along its journey to us. This “gravitational lensing” effect can distort the appearance of distant galaxies into long arcs and multiple apparitions. Astronomers measure that distortion to study the distribution of mysterious invisible “dark matter” in the foreground clusters.

Galaxy Cluster Abell 2744, with lensed light arcs from background galaxies. Credit: NASA and ESA
Galaxy Cluster Abell 2744, with lensed light arcs from background galaxies. Credit: NASA and ESA

The light Hubble receives is also telling us of incredible activity in the universe. We see our own solar system buzzing with activity, such as aurorae on Uranus and Saturn, and asteroids colliding. We also see magnificent clouds of interstellar dust and gas where infant stars are vigorously forming deep inside. Hubble’s ability to detect infrared light from these warm young stars enables us to see into these hidden nurseries. Light from more distant galaxies, as they stretch away from us with the expansion of space, is even showing us that this expansion is accelerating: some kind of “dark energy” is pushing the universe apart.

The Eagle Nebula. Credit: NASA and ESA
The Eagle Nebula. Credit: NASA and ESA

While Hubble continues its mission orbiting Earth, NASA is building its successor.

http://www.jwst.nasa.gov

NASA is building the biggest telescope the world has ever seen, which it will give scientists the opportunity to ‘see’ cosmic events that occurred 13.5 billion years ago – just 220 million years following the Big Bang. Named the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), it will be 100 times more powerful than the Hubble Space Telescope, and is tipped to be fully operational within the next three years.

JWST will be a powerful time machine with infrared vision that will peer back over 13.5 billion years to see the first stars and galaxies forming out of the darkness of the early universe.

The microwave COBE and WMAP satellites saw the heat signature left by the Big Bang about 380,000 years after it occurred. But at that point there were no stars and galaxies. In fact the universe was a pretty dark place.

After the Big Bang, the universe was like a hot soup of particles (i.e. protons, neutrons, and electrons). When the universe started cooling, the protons and neutrons began combing into ionized atoms of hydrogen (and eventually some helium). These ionized atoms of hydrogen and helium attracted electrons turning them into neutral atoms – which allowed light to travel freely for the first time, since this light was no longer scattering off free electrons. The universe was no longer dark! But we still don’t really know what the universe’s first light, created by sources (stars) that fused these hydrogen atoms into more helium, looked like.

JWST’s unprecedented infrared sensitivity will help astronomers to compare the faintest, earliest galaxies to today’s grand spirals and ellipticals, helping us to understand how galaxies assemble over billions of years.

Galaxies show us how the matter in the universe is organized on large scales. In order to understand the nature and history of the universe, scientists study how the matter is currently organized and how that organization has changed throughout cosmic time. In fact, scientists examine how matter is distributed and behaves at multiple size scales in our quest for this understanding. From peering into the way matter is constructed at the subatomic particle level to the immense structures of galaxies and dark matter that span the cosmos, each scale gives us important clues as to how the universe is built and evolves.

JWST will be able to see right through and into massive clouds of dust that are opaque to visible-light observatories like Hubble, where stars and planetary systems are being born.

JWST has sensors and other equipment on board that will enable NASA to study the atmosphere of exoplanets spectroscopically, and perhaps even find the building blocks of life elsewhere in the universe. In addition to other planetary systems, JWST will also study objects within our own Solar System. And NASA Chief Scientist, Ellen Stofan, predicts we’ll find strong indications of life beyond Earth within a decade, and have definitive evidence within 20 to 30 years. Well, first contact takes place on April 4, 2063, so we better hurry up and make it happen 🙂

The JWST includes a mirror 6.5 metres in diameter, which is three times the size of Hubble’s mirror, and it will have 70 times its light-gathering capacity. It will include four cameras and spectrometers, the latter of which is designed to take in light, break it down into its spectral components, and digitise the signal as a function of a wavelength for scientists to interpret.

Unlike Hubble, which has spent the last 25 years orbiting Earth, the James Webb Space Telescope will go all the way out to one of the Lagrangian points – a set of five equilibrium points in every Earth-Moon System – 1.5 million kilometres (930,000 miles) away. This will keep it far enough away from the Sun so it’s not too hot, and will shelter it from radiation and prevent it from being blinded by its own infra-red light.

It will follow Earth around the Sun over the course of the year so it will be in a Sun centre orbit instead of an Earth centre orbit. Just as Hubble rewrote all the textbooks, Webb will rewrite them again.

The telescope is expected to launch in October 2018.

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