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Excerpts from Guy Debord’s “The Muppets.” "Though the name 'Guy Debord' is now synonymous with two things: Situationist philosophy and The Muppets, this pairing of passions was not as easily reconciled as you might think. 'I had to fight really hard not to be pigeon-holed as a Marxist theorist in the puppeteering community,' Debord once said. 'They told me 'Kids don't want to hear about how the concrete life of everyone has been degraded to a speculative universe, Guy.' I said 'How about we let the children decide that?' Decide they did..." [Previously, Via]
Polyphonic overtone singing - Anna-Maria Hefele. "Overtone singing is a voice technique where it seems like one person sings two notes at the same time. You can sing the overtone scale on one fundamental. Another fundamental has its own overtone scale, so in order to have more overtones to sing nice melodies, you can use different fundamentals and change them while singing."
The Sound So Loud That It Circled the Earth Four Times. "It was 10:02 AM local time when the sound emerged from the island of Krakatoa, which sits between Java and Sumatra in Indonesia. It was heard 1,300 miles away in the Andaman and Nicobar islands ('extraordinary sounds were heard, as of guns firing'); 2,000 miles away in New Guinea and Western Australia ('a series of loud reports, resembling those of artillery in a north-westerly direction'); and even 3,000 miles away in the Indian Ocean island of Rodrigues, near Maldives ('coming from the eastward, like the distant roar of heavy guns.'1) In all, it was heard by people in over 50 different geographical locations, together spanning an area covering a thirteenth of the globe."
SIMILO. "2065. The entire planet is hit by the effects of climate change. One of the few places that remain habitable is Antarctica, where corporations have built private cities. Hebe and Ciro get back together again. She is looking for love. He is searching for his own identity." [NSFW, Via]
♫ Are Video Games Sexist? ♫ Auto-Tune Rebuttal. Jonathan Mann responds to a recent video by Christina Hoff Sommers on sexism in video games. [Via]
Entangled. "Forced to care for her catatonic lover Malcolm after a secret quantum experiment goes awry, Erin is determined to uncover the cause of his condition — even at the risk of her own life. This riveting contemporary science-fiction story, from one of the writers of Orphan Black, bridges alternate dimensions as it explores how far a person will go for someone they love." From the TIFF 2014 festival.
Will Misogyny Bring Down The Atheist Movement? "The continuing debate over a murky sexual encounter at a 2008 convention for cheekily anti-establishment skeptics underscores a broader dilemma: How can a progressive, important intellectual community behave so poorly towards its female peers?"
A mesmerizing pendulum wave demonstration with 16 bowling balls in a North Carolina forest. [Previously]
Inside Edward Snowden’s Life as a Robot. "Since he first became a household name a year ago, Edward Snowden has been a modern Max Headroom, appearing only as a face on a screen broadcast from exile in Hong Kong or Russia. But in the age of the telepresence robot, being a face on a screen isn’t as restrictive as it used to be." Indeed: Snowdenbot performs tele-diagnosis and offers aid to reporter who had first epileptic seizure.
Grinders: Tomorrow’s Cyberpunks are Here Today [NSFW]. "Installing magnets, microchips and sensors in their own bodies — this is how cyberpunk biohackers went from fiction to reality." [Previously, Via]
Hidden Paintings Revealed at Ancient Temple of Angkor Wat. "New, digitally enhanced images reveal detailed murals at Angkor Wat showing elephants, deities, boats, orchestral ensembles and people riding horses — all invisible to the naked eye." [Via]
Inside the Strange New World of DIY Brain Stimulation. "Inspired by scientific studies, ordinary people are buying and building devices to send electrical current into their brains. Some say it has improved their memory and focus. Others have found relief from depression and chronic pain. But are they getting ahead of the science?" [Via]
In pain and forced to use a wheelchair, a young woman opts to amputate her clubfeet. "New prosthetics have made active life possible for many with injuries and congenital defects." [Via]
Clones Are People Too: The Science and Science Fiction of BBC America’s Orphan Black. BBC America's science fiction series Orphan Black has returned for a second season, with Tatiana Maslany reprising her extraordinary performance playing half a dozen different clone characters. Meanwhile, in the real world, scientists have created cloned embryonic stem cells from the DNA of two adult humans. [Previously]
Bonfire of the Humanities. "Nobody goes to Timbuktu, right? Patrick Symmes did, to discover what happened when jihadi rebels set out to burn one of the world’s finest collections of ancient manuscripts. Bouncing around by truck, boat, and boots, he got an intimate look at West Africa’s most mythic locale." [Via]
OMEGA - A Stop Motion Animated Short. "The mechanical life form Ohm inhabits a bleak and devastated planet. The thousands of mechanical creatures of this world share a single cycle of energy. In this cycle, Ohm is a rogue element. His nature is to devour and absorb others. When one day a gargantuan foreign object appears in the skies. Drawn in by mysterious creatures of light, the Ohm tracks them across the planet, changing the known order of matter, time and space." [Via]
The Exit Room. "In 2021, an imprisoned journalist facing execution contemplates a desperate escape attempt in order to return to his wife and newborn child." [Via]
Grand Unified Theory of Female Pain. "The pain of women turns them into kittens and rabbits and sunsets and sordid red satin goddesses, pales them and bloodies them and starves them, delivers them to death camps and sends locks of their hair to the stars. Men put them on trains and under them. Violence turns them celestial. Age turns them old. We can’t look away. We can’t stop imagining new ways for them to hurt."
Gritty Cityscapes by Jeremy Mann. Dramatically and skillfully rendered, the cityscapes and figurative works of Jeremy Mann give visual form to the emotive essence of modern life (nsfw).
Peter Matthiessen’s Homegoing. "He is the only writer ever to win the National Book Award for nonfiction and fiction, but it’s not just the writing: Born into the East Coast establishment, Matthiessen ran from it, and in the running became a novelist, a C.I.A. agent, a founder of The Paris Review, author of more than 30 books, a naturalist, an activist and a master in one of the most respected lineages in Zen. As early as 1978, he was already being referred to, in a review in The New York Times, as a 'throwback,' because he has always seemed to be of a different, earlier era, with universal, spiritual and essentially timeless concerns." Peter Matthiessen, Lyrical Writer and Naturalist, Is Dead at 86.
The Interpreters We Left Behind. "As our troops pull out of Iraq and Afghanistan, we're abandoning fixers and translators to the dangerous countrymen who view them as traitors. Asylum in the U.S. could be their last hope. If only we'd let them in."
"Heaven Is a Place on Planet X" by Desirina Boskovich. "Break! Break! Break!" by Charlie Jane Anders. "System Reset" by Tobias Buckell. These three short stories are from The End is Nigh anthology, the first volume of The Apocalypse Triptych, three anthologies of stories about life just before, during, and after the apocalypse. "Post-apocalyptic fiction is about worlds that have already burned. Apocalyptic fiction is about worlds that are burning. The End is Nigh is about the match."
Let Me Live That Fantasy. "In search of Puddles, the saddest clown of all, whose voice — along with Lorde’s music — made him an Internet star."
Twilight in the Box. "The suicide statistics, the squalor and the recidivism haven’t ended solitary confinement. Maybe the brain studies will." [Via]
The Mammoth Cometh. "Bringing extinct animals back to life is really happening — and it’s going to be very, very cool. Unless it ends up being very, very bad." [Previously, Via]
A Star in a Bottle. "An audacious plan to create a new energy source could save the planet from catastrophe. But time is running out."
The Vampire Squid Strikes Again: The Mega Banks' Most Devious Scam Yet. "Banks are no longer just financing heavy industry. They are actually buying it up and inventing bigger, bolder and scarier scams than ever." This is the latest and last article for Rolling Stone by Matt Taibbi, who is moving on to join First Look Media.
Creation and Destruction of Sand Mandalas. Spontaneous Temporary Sand Paintings by Joe Mangrum. New Flower Mandalas by Kathy Klein. Geometric Paintings Inspired by Sacred Mandalas by Amy Cheng.
La bella vita: True beauty pleases the eye and the mind – but can it help us to become better people? "In 1795, the German dramatist and poet Friedrich Schiller published a book with a fearsome title – On the Aesthetic Education of Man in a Series of Letters. It has never become well-known, which is a pity, because it contains some of our most useful insights into the nature and value of beauty. Schiller’s starting point is an analysis of the human condition. He wants to understand our delight in what we find beautiful. Instead of asking which things are beautiful, Schiller is curious about what is going on in us when we respond with this distinctive, intimate thrill and enthusiasm that leads us to say ‘that’s beautiful’. Different things might provoke this response in different people. But why do we have it at all?" [Via]
Graffiti: 40 Years of Hacking New York City. "City as Canvas is a reminder that this is, in a very literal sense, criminal artwork." [Via]
Gentlemen, Formerly. "A gentleman in 1720 could read Greek while mounting a running horse. Today’s gentleman reads GQ in the bathroom. From rapists to stylists, a history of the American gentleman."
What Does Pussy Riot Mean Now? "With all eyes on Russia, two members of the country’s most notorious band of shit-stirrers are free after nearly two years of political imprisonment and enjoying the rock-star treatment during their first trip to the U.S. But the group’s unlikely journey from art-school project to international icons shows just how rotten Russia has become and how much the mission has changed."
Just Ella. A short film from Jim Munroe, the creator of Ghosts With Shit Jobs, for the Lo-fi Sci-fi 48 Hour Film Challenge. "Just Ella posits a future overrun by gibbering monstrosities. Ella takes refuge in a 'the Ossington Safehouse, a collectively-run space dedicated to human sovereignty.' But despite doing the assigned tasks on the chore list, the Safehouse isn’t safe — the terrors outside are nothing compared to those within." [Via]
The Empathy Exams: Acting out pain until that pain becomes real, for $13.50 an hour. "My job title is Medical Actor, which means I play sick. I get paid by the hour. Medical students guess my maladies. I’m called a Standardized Patient, which means I act toward the norms of my disorders. I’m standardized-lingo SP for short. I’m fluent in the symptoms of preeclampsia and asthma and appendicitis. I play a mom whose baby has blue lips..."
Dating an Impressionist's Sunset. "Famed French Impressionist Claude Monet created a striking scene of the Normandy coast in his 1883 painting, Étretat: Sunset. Now a team of Texas State University researchers, led by astronomer and physics professor Donald Olson, has applied its distinctive brand of forensic astronomy to Monet’s masterpiece, uncovering previously unknown details about the painting’s origins." [Via]
Gender Swap - Experiment with The Machine to be Another. "Gender Swap is an experiment that uses The Machine to be Another system as a platform for embodiment experience (a neuroscience technique in which users can feel themselves like if they were in a different body). In order to create the brain illusion we use the immersive Head Mounted Display Oculus Rift, and first-person cameras. To create this perception, both users have to syncronize their movements. If one does not correspond to the movement of the other, the embodiment experience does not work. It means that both users have to constantly agree on every movement they make. Throughout this experiment, we aim to investigate issues like Gender Identity, Queer Theory, feminist technoscience, Intimacy and Mutual Respect." [NSFW, Via]
60 Words And A War Without End: The Untold Story Of The Most Dangerous Sentence In U.S. History. "Written in the frenzied, emotional days after 9/11, the Authorization for the Use of Military Force was intended to give President Bush the ability to retaliate against whoever orchestrated the attacks. But more than 12 years later, this sentence remains the primary legal justification for nearly every covert operation around the world. Here’s how it came to be, and what it’s since come to mean." [Via]