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Esther Schindler writes "If you ever needed evidence that Isaac Asimov was a genius at extrapolating future technology from limited data, you'll enjoy this 1964 article in which he predicts what we'll see at the 2014 world's fair. For instance: "Robots will neither be common nor very good in 2014, but they will be in existence. The I.B.M. exhibit at the present fair has no robots but it is dedicated to computers, which are shown in all their amazing complexity, notably in the task of translating Russian into English. If machines are that smart today, what may not be in the works 50 years hence? It will be such computers, much miniaturized, that will serve as the "brains" of robots. In fact, the I.B.M. building at the 2014 World's Fair may have, as one of its prime exhibits, a robot housemaid*large, clumsy, slow- moving but capable of general picking-up, arranging, cleaning and manipulation of various appliances. It will undoubtedly amuse the fairgoers to scatter debris over the floor in order to see the robot lumberingly remove it and classify it into 'throw away' and 'set aside.' (Robots for gardening work will also have made their appearance.)" It's really fun (and sometimes sigh-inducing) to see where he was accurate and where he wasn't. And, of course, the whole notion that we'd have a world's fair is among the inaccurate predictions."

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dryriver writes "The BBC reports that cosmetic products using bee venom as an ingredient are a new 'hot seller' in the cosmetics market. Bee venom is said to have an effect on female skin similar to Botox injections, tightening the skin and making wrinkles and other signs of aging appear less pronounced than before. Unlike Botox, however, bee venom does not need to be injected, and can be absorbed through the skin naturally as an ingredient of cosmetic skin creme. Now comes the kicker: A special electrified device that causes bees to sting a synthetic membrane and release their venom can harvest about one gram of bee venom from 20 bee hives. That one gram of bee venom is worth a whopping 350 dollars. This makes bee venom almost seven times more valuable than gold, which, in comparison, is worth only about 53 dollars per gram."

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Though the sumptuous images in Dustin Arnold and Nicholas Cope’s Stamen series may resemble a throwback to the romantic oil paintings of the 19th century, they’re actually the contemporary result of a string of combinations: first of ideas, then of chemical reactions and photography.

The seeds of the work were planted back in the late aughts when Arnold, an art director with a background in fashion, and Cope, a still-life photographer with a focus on architecture, first met while working together on a commercial project. They became fast friends, recognizing in each other a desire to go beyond basic editorial work and move into the world of fine art. So they teamed up, working together in their free time. “Besides getting along really well and having similar tastes and perspectives on producing work, it was really an opportunity to do something that satisfied our own desires and own needs,” says Arnold, on the phone from Los Angeles where he and Cope are both based.

They planned to create a series of projects, which they could then distribute via their own periodical publication. Slated for release in early 2012, Stamen is the second project of their endeavor, full of lush images which represent the life-cycle of a flower. The duo say the idea was inspired by the abstract photography Cope had been experimenting with, which Arnold found intriguing and wanted to take further. They then began building ideas off one another’s suggestions.

“It kind of led us to work on something really classical like flower arrangements and to turn it on its head a little and start experimenting with chemicals,” says Arnold. “A very New World thing combined with an Old World thing like paintings of flower arrangements.” The dreamy, hazy look of each photograph was created by combining substances such as dry ice, sodium chloride, lye, and what they dub other “household chemicals you shouldn’t really mix together,” and applying them to traditional floral arrangements.

While the flowers were all meticulously arranged and color was discussed endlessly, the duo really had no idea what to expect once the chemicals were applied and the camera started snapping. “It was all preparedness for what we didn’t know was going to happen,” says Cope, laughing, though he adds that both he and Arnold were more than happy with the final outcome of the images.

Though a team consisting of an art director and a photographer isn’t unusual for any project, Arnold and Cope both say that their method of working together — slowly, thoughtfully, with a curious, rather than a commercial, motivation — is unique and has allowed them to create work that they find satisfying. And though they fully collaborate on their work as they each bounce ideas off of one another, Cope says they don’t compromise anything.

“We’re really just making exactly what we want to make. Which is rare. “

More of Nicholas Cope’s work can be seen here and more of Dustin Arnold’s work can be seen here.

Megan Gibson is a writer-reporter at the London bureau of TIME. Find her on Twitter at @MeganJGibson

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“Perhaps, in the nature of things, analytical understanding must always be a basilisk which kills what it sees and only sees by killing.”
C.S. Lewis ~ The Abolition of Man

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