Saturday, February 25, 2012

Adelaide bids to host the 2014 International Astronautical Congress

Earlier this month, Australia submitted its bid to host the International Astronautical Congress in Adelaide, 2014.  The bid documents were hand-delivered to Paris by Michael Brett (until recently Chair of the Space Generation Advisory Council, and currently working for Aerospace Concepts in Canberra).  

As a resident of Adelaide, I'm naturally very excited by this prospect. Here are more details from the Space Policy Unit:

Each year since 1950, an International Astronautical Congress (IAC) is hosted by an International Astronautial Federation (IAF) member nation.  Facilitated by the IAF, the International Academy of Astronautics, and the International Institute of Space Law, each IAC brings together space industry professionals, policy makers, students and researchers from around the world.  This provides opportunities to discuss space-related issues, learn from each other, celebrate success and form links for international collaboration.

Adelaide’s bid to host the 65th IAC gives Australia an opportunity to showcase its developing space policy, highlight the achievements of the Australian Space Research Program and form new international partnerships.  The Space Policy Unit is a key part of the CSIRO-led bid. 

Adelaide is an Australian hub for large engineering and defence projects.  The University of South Australia is also home to numerous Australian Space Research Program projects, including the Southern Hemisphere Summer Space Program, the space-based national wireless sensor network project, and it is working with the University of Queensland and other consortium members to research new hypersonic scramjet technology.

A summary of Adelaide’s bid to host the 65th IAC, including details of the city of Adelaide and introductory videos, are available at the bid website

If you're a member of the IAF, and haven't yet seen the newsletter about Adelaide's bid, please contact the chair of the IAC for Australia Bid Committee, Brett Biddington, at

Saturday, February 04, 2012

The art of the cable tie

OK, I've already admitted I'm obsessed. But I really can't resist sharing these wonderfully creative uses of the cable tie. A few weeks ago, I bought a book on the basis that it had instructions on how to make one of those cafe-style fly curtains out of cable ties (I'm not actually going to do it, I just like the idea).  Here is what some other people have done with them.

Mia Mulvey, an artist based in Denver, Colorado, has made ceramic sculptures incorporating cable ties. She says she is influenced by "the intersection between art and science, its history, advancements and tools".  In the work you see below, she has tethered flying things like birds and butterflies to a tree with cable ties.

Heather Skowood is a contemporary jeweller and designer. Here are a couple of things she has made with cable ties.  You can read her blog to find out more about her philosophy.

Finally, even the cable tie itself can be designed so that it is both beautiful and functional (WHY can't they make watches and diaries like that. They are always one or the other but never both). My friend the Mess Goddess has sourced these gorgeous Italian cable ties with a leaf on the end. She loves cable ties as much as I do, but for different reasons.

I'm sure there are many more examples of exceptional cable tie creativity out there. Let me know if you find any.