Thursday, February 22, 2024

Shanghai <-> Madison

Out of the way, hidden and obscure museums are often gems. And so it was in Shanghai, where the Shanghai Propaganda Poster Art Centre beckoned.

The materials mentioned that its first overseas exhibit was held at the University of Wisconsin-Madison's Elvehjem Museum, now part of the greater Chazen facility.

Enjoy the brief video, captured in the Chazen's beautiful entrance, adjacent to the cafe.

Tap to begin exploring in amuz. Enjoy!

Wednesday, February 14, 2024

My Verse AR Tour

Explore chapels, churches and cathedrals around the globe. This Ash Wednesday My Verse (app store) video includes the Hagia Sophia, St. Peters, the Trinity Church Kappl, Basilica San Vitale and the Cattedrale di Monreale.

This augmented reality (AR) scene was captured at the gorgeous Luther Memorial church on the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus.

Tap to begin exploring in amuz. Enjoy!

Tuesday, February 13, 2024

Dreaming of Whistling Straights: AR edition

Recent February days have offered the illusion of an early Spring. Such thoughts are encouraged by bare golf course landscapes, including Madison's interesting Glenway Golf Park.

Yet, when considering golf, my mind has been captured by Whistling Straights.

Enjoy a brief Augmented Reality (AR) tour narrated by Kohler's Michael O'Reilly:

Tap to begin exploring in amuz. Enjoy!

Monday, February 12, 2024

Textile Connections in AR

It's been a blessing to observe the world from Madison. The University of Wisconsin offers endless connections around the globe, from alumni to interesting programs and campus lectures.

(who can forget meeting an alum on the Budapest bus, sharing tales in Chile over a classic t-shirt or the Shanghai place).

A recent visit to the Lynn Mecklenburg Textile Gallery was an ideal space to visualize connections:

This video includes amuz VR scenes from Rhodes and Cyprus.

Tap to begin exploring in amuz. Enjoy!

"Autotopia in 2024 and Beyond: Navigating Our Mobility Evolution" 11 March 2024 Talk @ Madlit

Ray Mandli is scheduled to discuss Autopia at the Madison Literary Club's 11 March 2024 meeting:

This exploration delves into "Autotopia," examining its implications for mobility in 2024 and beyond, while also tracing the history of roads and the supporting infrastructure. We analyze the evolution of mobility, from ancient pathways to modern highways, and speculate on future trends. By considering advancements in transportation technology, urban planning, and societal preferences, alongside infrastructure development, we gain insights into transformative changes shaping how we move. From shared mobility to sustainability initiatives, we explore the impact on society, the economy, and the environment. This examination offers a deeper understanding of Autotopia's driving forces and the opportunities and challenges it presents for individuals, businesses, and policymakers.
mp3 audio

A few links from Ray:

Is your car spying on you? ABC's Megan Norwood explores if driver data is being shared with insurance companies.

Report reveals safety shortfalls in partially automated cars.

The UW Now Livestream. The future of electric vehicles:
If you’ve recently been in the market for a new car or truck, chances are you’ve seen news about the growing popularity of electric vehicles (EVs). What are the benefits and drawbacks of driving electric? What would be the impact on overall U.S. emissions if more or all Americans were to choose an EV? Can the U.S. meet the increased demand for electricity needed to power EVs that has been seen in other countries? Who will become the world leader in EV production?

Join us online this Tuesday, Mar. 12, at 7 p.m. CDT as we moderate a live discussion with leading experts on electric vehicles. Afterward, the guests will take questions from the audience via live chat. You can join the livestream here, or request a reminder now to receive an email a half hour before the program starts. To watch past programs, check out the Wisconsin Alumni Association YouTube channel.
Learn more at

Thursday, February 8, 2024

Above the Mississippi River, AR edition

Madeline Heim recently wrote about a proposed federal taxpayer $300M plan for the Mississippi River Basin:
Advocates for the Mississippi River argue that the river is long overdue to have its own such program. Millions of people up and down a swath of the central United States rely on it for drinking water, commerce and recreation, and its floodplains provide food and habitat for hundreds of fish and wildlife species. But the river and its floodplain are facing a multitude of challenges, from extreme weather to habitat loss to persistent agricultural and industrial pollution. That pollution contributes to the Dead Zone in the Gulf of Mexico, which last year was almost as big as Yellowstone Park.
Explore the mighty Mississippi with amuz VR scenes from the source in Northern Minnesota's Itasca Park to the mouth in Louisiana, and plenty of stops in between, including several mounds.


Monday, February 5, 2024

"New York Comes to us" - AR edition

The Statue of Liberty, a product of the 1979 UW-Madison Pail & Shovel party, infrequently appears on frozen Lake Mendota.

The Backstory: During transport from New York by a helicopter, the cable snapped and Lady Liberty found herself on Lake Mendota.

I recorded a number of visitor impressions during a 2009 appearance, available in the amuz app on iPhone, iPad, Mac, Android and Vision Pro. (Tap Play category, navigate to Lake Mendota just off the Memorial Union and tap the icon. Swipe through the media and tap to view videos or VR scenes).

An excerpt:

History of Lady Liberty on Lake Mendota (2009) UW News and 2019 with a new version

Extra Credit: A mockup of the Statue of Liberty -used for fundraising- can be seen at the excellent Minnesota Maritime Museum in Winona, or via a few taps in amuz.

Note: AR (augmented reality) scene captured at Madison's sublime Wonderstate coffee.

iPhone iPad and Android examples.

Thursday, February 1, 2024

KaDeWe + 117 years

Berlin's opulent department store has been in the news recently amidst a curious mix of financial troubles at its landlord and parent.

Sam Jones writes:
KaDeWe, Germany’s most famous and exclusive department store, filed for administration on Monday, becoming the latest casualty of RenĂ© Benko’s crumbling property empire.

Management of the 116-year-old Berlin institution said that despite booming sales they could not afford to pay rising rents demanded by the Signa Group and the business needed urgent restructuring.

Signa co-owns the KaDeWe operating company with Thailand’s Central Group, but it separately owns the KaDeWe building. The steep increase in the valuation of the building under Signa’s ownership was justified by the rents that could be squeezed from its captive tenant.

rbb24 takes a deep dive:
From then on, the KaDeWe earned an excellent reputation inside and outside Berlin through its huge product selection. Still in the opening year 1907, the King of Siam, Chulalongkorn, bought in the KaDeWe for two consecutive days. He is said to have spent 250,000 Reichsmarks at the time - at a time when the average salary in Germany was 1,000 marks per year.

Today, according to the company, up to 50,000 people visit the KaDeWe every day - in the Christmas season there are twice as many. Every day at 10 a.m., the original iron grille from 1907 rises for the customers. Like back then, the KaDeWe is also a consumer temple of superlatives today. With its 34,000 products on a shopping area of over 7,000 square meters, the legendary delicatessen department is considered the largest of its kind in Europe.

The KaDeWe has changed its face again and again in the twelve decades of its existence. A part of Berlin's city history is also reflected in every epoch.
Explore Berlin's KaDeWe in amuz. VR, too.

The app for explorers.

Tagesspiegel takes a deeper dive on the finances:
The cosmetics association VKE makes accusations against the financially troubled KaDeWe Group. The luxury department store company, which filed for insolvency this week, has recently not paid numerous invoices or only after threat of legal action, said Association Managing Director Andreas Fuhlisch to the German Press Agency. The KaDeWe Group did not respond to requests for comments. Previously, the "Lebensmittel Zeitung" had reported.

Eliot Brown, Margot Patrick and Konrad Putzier:
Some properties, however, had a layer of debt on corporate shells that sat between the properties and the real-estate company, which itself had numerous layers of debt.

Benko’s 50% calculation typically omitted billions of dollars in liabilities that increasingly weighed on its finances. Called Genussscheine, a hybrid between debt and equity, it promised investors a share of any profits in a year from Signa companies or individual projects. Even though under German accounting principles it isn’t technically categorized as debt, interest was steep—in the high single digits—on some of these notes and they had to be repaid or refinanced upon maturity.