Until recently, nationally representative survey data has been the primary source of information on the energy performance of buildings in the U.S., relative to their year of construction. The emergence of municipal energy benchmarking ordinances and public availability of benchmarking datasets now makes it possible to explore these relationships at the local level, and to link this data with information about a building’s historic designation status. This paper presents results from an initial statistical analysis examining the relationships between building energy use, year of construction, and historic designation status. First, municipal benchmarking data from six U.S. cities is used to examine local trends in the relationship between building age and energy performance. Second, an exploratory analysis of the energy performance of designated historic compared to non-historic buildings in New York City is presented. The methods described in this paper could be applied more widely to benchmarking datasets from other cities.
“With his Right Hand”: Signatures, Pictorial Gestures, and Artistic Self-Consciousness in Pietro Lorenzetti’s Arezzo Polyptych
Pietro Lorenzetti signed no fewer than nine paintings during his career, more than any other European artist until Jan van Eyck a century later. He also left an unprecedented “double signature” on one work, with the first inscription prominently visible to the public and the second hidden and known only to the painter. Written along the lower edge of altarpieces and panels, Lorenzetti’s signatures are usually simple and concise, following formulas previously adopted by medieval Italian artists. But two of his earliest inscriptions, on the Cortona Madonna (ca. 1315) and Arezzo Polyptych (1320-1324), differ by including the word “dextra”: “Petrus Laurentii hanc pinxit dextra senensis.” These signatures can be translated as “Pietro di Lorenzo of Siena painted this [work] with his right hand.”
Like his unparalleled proclivity for signing paintings, Lorenzetti’s use of “dextra” in these inscriptions can inform us about his specific works, pictorial language and artistic personality. By stating that the Arezzo Polyptych was painted “with his right hand,” Lorenzetti naturally drew attention to his manual dexterity and the glorious product of his extensive handiwork. Simultaneously it put Lorenzetti’s paintings in relation to the work of esteemed artists such as Giunta Pisano who had already referred to their own expert hands in their signatures. If we look at the Arezzo Polyptych’s content, Lorenzetti’s “dextra” encourages viewers to consider the formal connections between the artist’s hand and the hands of figures he painted, including the dextra Dei depicted in the Annunciation and the pointing hand of John the Baptist indicating the Christ Child, both of which are vertically aligned with Pietro’s signature. Such visual resonances between text and image suggest that Lorenzetti was self-consciously linking his creative act with the divine work of God and the saints.
What inspired Lorenzetti to sign so many of his paintings, and, on occasion, to do so in such a self-aggrandizing way? The painter was surrounded by several significant artists who created prominent works with signatures. They include Giunta Pisano, Margaritone d’Arezzo, Giovanni Pisano, and Duccio, and if Lorenzetti did not collaborate directly with them, he surely would have seen their paintings and sculptures in Arezzo, Assisi, Siena, and elsewhere. Moreover, having secured at a young age several highly important commissions in Tuscany and Umbria, including the fresco cycle in the left transept of the Lower Church at Assisi, Lorenzetti would have had more than enough self-confidence to inscribe himself—and his right hand—into the Arezzo Polyptych.
Interactive product prototyping has been widely taught in industrial design studio courses to prepare design students in dealing with dynamic interactions of using digital products. While it requires the integration of design and technology, the lack of systematic approaches of the studio curricula creates a great challenge for students who are not familiar with technology in creating interactive prototypes successfully. A theoretical framework is developed from the human-machine interaction model and the sequential flow of task analysis methods. Based on this framework, a human-machine interaction (HMI) flow diagram is proposed with which interaction elements, relationships, and flows are specified and categorized. The flow diagram is utilized to create a storyboard and an allocation flowchart subsequently. A structured design process based on these methods was applied to an interactive product design studio course in an undergraduate industrial design program. Students created working prototypes of interactive products, following the structured design process consisting of an HMI flow diagram, a storyboard, and an allocation flowchart. 104 students (87.4%) among 119 succeeded in translating their ideas to functioning circuits. 74 students (62.2%) successfully integrated electronics components into working physical prototypes while 30 students (25.2%) just made the circuits work. The structured design process makes a transition from initial ideation to programming smooth and incremental. This helps students without previous programming experience to understand the logic flow and to develop algorithms. The HMI flow diagram is useful for analysis, concept development, and the specification of interactions, and helps students to grasp the effect of interactive features on user experience.
Prior work on black hole (BH) thermodynamics suggests the entropy depends not on the volume, but rather the surface area of the event horizon. Such findings highlight the intriguing nature of BHs and give rise to the idea that information may be entirely encoded on the surface. We study the case of a superficial Schwarzschild BH, and calculate the net force (Fnet) exerted on the surface of its spherical shell from the self-gravitational pull. We demonstrate that the Fnet is exactly c^4/4G, 3.025•10^43 Newtons, a force that is constant and independent of the size and the mass of the BH, meaning all such Schwarzschild BHs share the same Fnet. Surprisingly, the Fnet matches Fmax, the limit of the maximum force conjecture. This establishes a new potential connection between the formation of BHs and the Fmax. We demonstrate that under the validity of this Fmax, the mass of the superficial BH is contained at precisely the Schwarzschild radius. Finally, we provide further evidence to reject the concept of a point mass singularity and we theorize on the creation of a BH given the findings.
Robotic animal-like companions for older adults are promising technologies that have shown to have health benefits, especially for individuals with dementia, and good adoption rates in some previous studies. Our project, Affordable Robotic Intelligence for Elderly Support, aims to design new capabilities for companionship and smart care, but at high affordability. In a 6-month longitudinal study of baseline acceptance and well-being, we assessed the impact of an Ageless Innovation Joy for All™ robotic pet on user acceptance and emotional well-being (depression, loneliness, positive emotions). Nineteen participants from independent and assisted living facilities completed three standardized in-person surveys, each 3 months apart, including the CES-D, measures of Loneliness, Emotions, Attitude towards Technology (ATI), and various measures of evaluation of and engagement with robotic technology. The measures showed modest to very good reliability and meaningful construct validity. Participants in this sample showed little depression or loneliness, and these levels did not further decrease over the six months. People welcomed the pet and expressed positive evaluations of it, and these sentiments were stable over time. Attitudes toward technology varied but were unrelated to well-being measures and to robot evaluations. Our current conclusion, on the basis of a small sample, is that the selected robotic pet companion is appreciated and seen as beneficial, and for adults who are already low in depression and loneliness, the robot companion helps maintain the adult’s emotional well-being but does not further increase it.
Leo Marx, in his famous 1964 book, “The Machine in the Garden,” proposed that a central conflict in the American psyche resulted from the industrialization of the unspoiled, Eden-like landscapes of the new world. Wright’s Organic Modernism perhaps allowed 20th-century Americans to unconsciously feel that they could “resolve" that conflict by living in harmony with nature, while International Style Modernism and its machine-like buildings perhaps pointed too directly to the tragedy of industrial capitalism’s despoiling of the environment.