As the story goes, when John Lennon was writing “I Am the Walrus,” he received a letter from a student at his former primary school explaining that the English teacher there had given his pupils the task of decoding and analyzing Beatles lyrics. So, in true Lennon fashion, he resolved to make his new song as inscrutable as possible, including nonsensical lines about yellow custard and dead dog eyes adapted from a nursery rhyme he sang as a child. The song “Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite,” from Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, might seem like a similarly obtuse flight of fancy, but it was actually inspired by—and, in many cases, lifted wholesale from—a Victorian circus poster Lennon had picked up at an antiques shop some time earlier. Peter Dean, a modern-day Beatles fanatic, wanted a copy of that poster for his own wall, but all he could find were crappy reproductions. So, with the dedication of a true zealot, he set about re-creating it on his own.
And now for today’s awesome science update: Arthur Olson’s Molecular Graphics Lab uses 3-D printers to spit out physical models of drugs and enzymes, and attaches augmented-reality tags to them so that computer vision can help researchers find the optimal fit. Think of it like playing with a Rubik’s cube, except the solution may help cure HIV.
Social Printshop has launched a new website featuring several new products, including a print-your-followers Twitter poster. The bootstrapping start-up (aka Social Print Studio and Printing Facebook), founded by an MFA student in San Diego named Benjamin Lotan, has been growing over the last few months, swelling to a 10-person team since we covered its first product, a 20” x 40” high-resolution print of your Facebook friends’ faces. Social Printshop has even attracted the attention of a few potential investors, including a professor at the Columbia Journalism School and a soft-core pornographer.
On top of the old standby, the Facebook friend poster, and the new Twitter poster, they’ll print out nice vinyl Tumblr posters (seen above), miniature photobooks, and small stickers with images from Facebook, Twitter, or Tumblr. They’ve teamed with Mashable to wallpaper its New York office with images of fans of its Facebook page.