The Classic Noguchi Lamp as You’ve Never Seen It | Kanebridge News
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The Classic Noguchi Lamp as You’ve Never Seen It

For decades, minimalists have snapped up the Japanese-American artist’s off-white paper lanterns. These lesser-known versions feature decorative dabs of colour.

Mon, Mar 13, 2023 8:00amGrey Clock 2 min

WE ARE WELL acquainted with Isamu Noguchi’s iconic Akari light sculptures. The lovely little frameworks of bamboo covered with off-white washi paper (whose design dates to 1951) are the sort of thing uncompromising incense fans own. But who knew that 25 of the more than 170 Akari iterations currently in production are screen printed with flourishes of color or pattern. Not so minimalist, after all.

The decorative printed additions range from pure abstractions (alternating bands of black and white) to simplified pictures (knocked-out bow ties) to Japanese design motifs. “The appeal of the coloured versions is they have more cultural specificity than the unadorned ones but [still] achieve the timeless, placeless universality of Noguchi’s best work,” said Dakin Hart, senior curator at the Noguchi Museum in Long Island City, N.Y.

The Akari “sun” pattern on the 1AY model

Though seemingly art for art’s sake, the decorations have practical dimensions, too. The Akari “sun” pattern (shown above on the 1AY model), for example, leaves an ovoid shape unprinted, creating an analog way to dim the light: Turn the unprinted “sun” toward the wall to modulate the brightness; turn it outward, and the light increases.

In 1951, the artist first visited Gifu, Japan, the global hub of the traditional paper lantern industry, and was inspired to create a translucent, collapsible light sculpture. The result: the Akari, which translates to “light” and “glow” in English. Soon, the artisanal fixtures were among the most beloved (and accessible) modern lamps.

The Akari 9AD

In the U.S., the coloured and embellished Akari are available only through the Noguchi Museum (and strictly sold in tabletop versions), which makes them harder to get your hands on. But, given the basic models’ ubiquity, that scarcity makes them feel particularly un-routine. The screen-printed Akari—more playful than their monastic siblings—appeal to interior designers like Victoria Sass. The Twin Cities, Minn., pro said she also finds the coloured iterations more painterly, “like a piece of art” in contrast with the “more sculptural” unadorned version.

For a spot of color in his Düsseldorf living room, German design influencer Christoph Knopf layered an Akari 9AD “Blue Shovel” in among other midcentury modern pieces and Japanese-inspired décor. As he notes on Instagram, the lantern, lit at night, “is the star of the interior.”

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The Strongest Protection for Your Online Accounts? This Little Key

Passwords aren’t enough to fend off hackers; these dongles are the best defense

Mon, Mar 27, 2023 4 min

Strong passwords are very important, but they’re not enough to protect you from cybercriminals.

Passwords can be leaked or guessed. The key to online security is protecting your account with a strong secondary measure, typically a single-use code. This is referred to as “two-factor authentication,” or 2FA, as the nerds know it.

I’ve written about all the different types of 2FA, such as getting those codes sent via text message or generated in an authenticator app. Having any kind of second factor is better than none at all, but physical security keys—little dongles that you plug into a USB port or tap on your phone during account logins—offer the highest level of protection.

Security keys have been around for over a decade, but now they’re in the spotlight: Apple recently introduced support for them as an optional, added protection for Apple ID accounts. Last month, Twitter removed text-message-based authentication as an option for nonpaying users, recommending instead an authenticator app or security key.

Some people are hesitant to use security keys because carrying around a physical object seems burdensome and they come with a $30-and-up added cost. Plus, what happens if they get lost?

I’ve used security keys since 2016 and think they are actually easier to manage than codes—especially with accounts that don’t require frequent logins. They’re not only convenient, but they can’t be copied or faked by hackers, so they’re safer, too.

Here’s how to weigh the benefits and common concerns of adding one or two of these to your keychain.

Which security key should I use?

Many internet services support the use of security keys, and you can use the same security key to unlock accounts on many different services. I recommend two from industry leader Yubico:

  • YubiKey 5C NFC ($US55) if you have a USB-C laptop or tablet
  • YubiKey 5 NFC ($US50) for devices with older USB ports

Other options include Google’s Titan security keys ($30 and up). In addition to working with laptops and tablets with USB ports, these keys are compatible with smartphones that have NFC wireless. Most smartphones these days have that, since it’s the technology behind wireless payments such as Apple Pay.

Adam Marrè, chief information security officer at cybersecurity firm Arctic Wolf, recommends that your chosen key is certified by the FIDO Alliance, which governs the standards of these devices.

How do security keys work?

To add a key, look in the security settings of your major accounts (Facebook, Twitter, Google, etc.). During setup, it will prompt you to insert the key into your laptop or tablet’s port or hold the key close to your phone for wireless contact.

Apple requires you to add two security keys to your Apple ID account, in case you lose one.

Typically, when you log in, you just go to the app or website where you’ve set up a key, enter your username and password as usual, then once again insert the key into the device or hold it close. (Some keys have a metal tab you have to press to activate.) At that point, the service should let you right in.

Why are they so secure?

Getting those two-factor login codes via text message is convenient, but if you are someone criminals are targeting, you could be the victim of SIM swapping. That’s where thieves convince carriers to port your number to a new phone in their possession, and they use it along with your stolen password to hack your accounts.

Even if they don’t go to all that trouble, criminals might try to trick you to hand them your codes, by calling you or spoofing a website you typically visit. At that point they can use the code for about 60 seconds to try to break in, said Ryan Noon, chief executive at security firm Material Security.

Security keys protect you in two ways: First, there’s no code to steal, and second, they use a security protocol to verify the website’s domain during login, so they won’t work on fake sites.

You can also add an authenticator app such as Authy to your most important accounts, to use only as a backup. But once you add these secure methods, you should consider removing the text-message code option.

In the rare case that someone snoops your passcode then steals your iPhone, beware: The perpetrator could still make Apple ID account changes using only the passcode, and even remove security keys from your account.

What happens if you lose your key?

The most important rule of security keys is to buy an extra one (or two).

“Think of your security key as you would a house or car key,” said Derek Hanson, Yubico’s vice president of solutions architecture. “It’s always recommended that you have a spare.”

If you lose a security key, remove it from your accounts immediately. You should have already registered your spare or an authenticator app as a backup to use in the meantime.

Where can you use a security key?

Start with your most valuable accounts: Google, Apple, Microsoft, your password manager, your social–media accounts and your government accounts.

When it comes to financial institutions, many banks don’t offer security-key protection as an option, though most leading crypto exchanges do.

What comes after security keys?

Security professionals and tech companies widely agree that passkeys are the future. They’re a new type of software option that combines the high security of a physical key with the convenience of biometrics such as your face or fingerprints. Passkeys are supported across the Android, iOS, Mac and Windows platforms, and some of your favourite sites already let you use them.

You can create a passkey on Facebook in security settings by following the app’s instructions under the security-key option. Dropbox has a similar passkey setup. Once you’re done, you’ll use your face or fingerprint as a second factor, instead of a code or key.

Eventually, physical security keys could be what we keep safe in strong boxes, as backups for our biometric-enabled passkeys. Even then, you’re probably going to want to have spares.


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