Sunday, May 29, 2011

Guest blog from my brother: Daniel's trip in Europe

Hi I'm Daniel. I'm the guest writer of this post and Steven's brother.

First I'll tell my own story of Europe. Of course, I was with my parents the whole time. First stop, London.

In London I went to the Tower of London and saw these weird guys who carried the keys (Beefeaters), went to many towers, and saw the Crown Jewels of London. The next day we traveled everywhere. First we went to the British Museum. There were many cool things there; then we went to Buckingham Palace and saw these weird soldiers with big hats. We walked another mile and we were at Big Ben, a giant clock. Last but not least we went to Wimbledon lawn tennis club and went to its museum. That night we went to the Ceremony of the keys to watch them lock the Tower of London's gates.

 A big dragon!   

Thursday, May 19, 2011


After Copenhagen I headed to Amsterdam to meet with Xy Ziemba ’12. We stayed there Sat/Sun 7 and 8 May.

The two unique things we did were:
1. See some unusual car-bike combinations
Human powered hybrid?

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Frisbee around the world!

Jason Curtis and I organized Oliners studying abroad to make this video. Props to Jason Curtis for putting it together!

P.S. Traveling around Europe allowed me to be the cameraman of half of these scenes.

Saturday, May 14, 2011


Last Thursday and Friday (5 May) I went to Copenhagen. I wanted to see what Scandinavia was like, and Copenhagen was the closest city. Why did I want to see what Scandinavia was like? Because it seemed like all my European friend pointed to Scandinavia as examples of great societies.

Mermaids, Windmills, and Bikes
Of course in Copenhagen everybody must see the little mermaid. It is very underwhelming. why not make it more exciting?

Much more interesting are the huge windmills and bikes throughout Copenhagen.

Danish Design
I also wanted to go to Copenhagen, because I wanted to see Scandinavia and its design influences ( especially after taking UOCD*)

First I went to the Danish Design Center. Their exibhts seemed like they were straight out of a UOCD textbook. If you have taken UOCD these things might look familiar to you.

I also ran into the Scandinavia show room for Tesla Motors. The sales person was very interested in talking to me, even though it was obvious I was not trying to buy a car. Evidently there are only several dozen such cars in Denmark. I asked how can this be, since Scandinavian society as a whole was more on the cutting edge of green technology then the U.S. The sales persons said that this was true, but there is not a culture of showing off possessions as statis symbols. Thus the wealthy Danish business man might still bike to work if it was convenient. This is exactly what I found as I saw many gray-haired men in suits bike around Copenhagen.

Finally I spoke to some desighners I randomly ran into they invited me to their office to chat. Turns out they work for INDEX, an orginzation that organizizes the largest design prize in the world. Later I recollected that I actually saw the head of INDEX speak at a conference I went to last year (Better World By Design).
One question that I was left with: why is the design profession- the people, lingo, education, still dominated from an art perspective?- by industrial designers, artistic terms/exhibits (the way they’re displayed sembles modern art exhibits), I don’t know the answer. If you do. Let me know!

*UOCD stands for User Oriented Collaborative Design. It is the required introductory design course at Olin. Most engineering schools do not teach their students this user oriented approach.

Monday, May 9, 2011

VW: Venezia to Wien

Hello blog readers, I’m Jeffrey Atkinson, Olin ’12, am currently studying in Trento, Italy, and traveled through central Europe with Steven last week. Since the Rome post, I’ve been promoted from guest editor to guest blogger, and I’m sharing a bit of what we did in Italy and Austria during our trip.


I’ve been traveling alone since Monday, 2 May. Monday-Wednesday I was in Berlin.

Absurdities of the human race

Berlin has a  very unique history, and it has made me realize some absurdities of us humans.

The guy is selling visas.. to East Germany!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011


Hallo from Berlin!
Here’s what I’ve been up to since Rome
Monday 4/25 to Tuesday: Venice. Walk around, island hop
Wed to Fri: Vienna: Imperial palance, watch 2 operas (Magic Flute by Mozart and Nabucco by Verdi)
Sat to Sun: Fussen: Neuschwanstein Castle, Munich: BMW museum
Jeff was with me up until Fussen, so I've asked him to guest write for Venice and Vienna

Fussen: fairytale land of Castles

The southern part of Bavaria is famous for its "fairy tale" scenery and castles.
The farmland here reminds of Michigan, which isn't surprising given the large number of Bavarian immigrants who came to Michigan in the 1800s.

But Michigan does not have big mountains, or this: