February 14, 2011
Kenneth Mars RIP
Perhaps you remember him as the esteemed author of sure-fire flop Springtime for Hitler, or as an inspector with an artificial arm in Young Frankenstein, or maybe even for his impersonation of Henry Kissinger singing Bachman-Turner Overdrive's Takin' Care of Business ( I must hear this. I must.) Maybe you don't remember him at all, as he was a prolific voice actor and character actor. A That Guy. But if you do remember him, you probably remember him making you laugh really, really hard, which is a wonderful thing to be remembered for. I am sad to report that Kenneth Mars passed away on Saturday, February 12th, from pancreatic cancer.
posted by louche mustachio at 10:56 PM PST - 45 comments

“How do you juggle it all?”
"I have a suspicion - and hear me out, because this is a rough one - that the definition of “crazy” in show business is a woman who keeps talking even after no one wants to fuck her anymore." Writer/producer/actor Tina Fey on working motherhood, the show business industry, and the worst question you can ask a woman.
posted by availablelight at 10:31 PM PST - 123 comments

What immortal hand or eye
Symmetry: Photographer Julian Wolkenstein offers an app for bisecting your image and producing two symmetrical images of each distinct half. The resulting images may be uploaded to his website. It has been suggested that bodily symmetry in humans correlates to intelligence, orgasmic elicitation, and perceived sexual attractiveness. Other tools exist for playing with this particular quality: Symmetry.
posted by darth_tedious at 9:29 PM PST - 18 comments

Mmm hmm! Mmm hm! Mmm hmm!
You may have seen the Chrysler commercial during the Super Bowl that featured a hip hop act, with the narrator going on about how outsiders didn't know anything about a certain city in Michigan? But we're not talking about that Detroit City, we're talking about this Detroit CYDI. Yeah Bitch. [more inside]
posted by cashman at 8:45 PM PST - 19 comments

Game over, old sport!
In my younger and more vulnerable years I might have really enjoyed playing The Great Gatsby on the Nintendo Entertainment System. If you think you have what it takes to fight gangsters and advertisements and hobos, you might, too.
posted by synecdoche at 7:39 PM PST - 46 comments

with depravity / i break lots of gravity
Our solar system may have a ninth planet -- or a tenth, if you're a Pluto sentimentalist. Tyche, which astronomers suspect lurks in the Oort cloud, fifteen thousand times farther away from the sun than the Earth, is thought to be a gas giant four times the size of Jupiter. We may know for sure in April.
posted by eugenen at 6:30 PM PST - 99 comments

Thus did Man become the Architect of his own demise...
"Welcome to the Zion Archive. You have selected Historical File #12-1: The Second Renaissance." So begins the short film of the same name by Mahiro Maeda [Flash: 1 2 - QuickTime: 1 2] -- a devastating yet beautiful work of animation. Originally produced to explain the backstory behind the Matrix trilogy, Maeda's project ended up telling a story far darker and more affecting than any blockbuster. Using a blend of faux documentary footage and visual metaphor, his serene Instructor relates in biblical tones the saga of Man and Machine, how age-old cruelty and hatred birthed a horrifying, apocalyptic struggle that consumed the world. Packed with striking imagery and historical allusions galore, this dark allegory easily transcends the films it was made for. But while "The Second Renaissance" is arguably the best work to come from the Matrix franchise, it's hardly alone -- it's just one of the projects made for The Animatrix, a collection of nine superb anime films in a wide variety of styles designed to explore the universe and broaden its scope beyond the usual sci-fi action of the movies. Click inside for a guide to these films with links to where they can be watched online, along with a look at The Matrix Comics, a free series of comics, art, and short fiction created for the same purpose by some of the best talent in the business. [more inside]
posted by Rhaomi at 5:40 PM PST - 55 comments

Not all mimes suck.
Shields and Yarnell: innovators in the field of robotic movement, exploring the Uncanny Valley through nationwide public exhibits during the 1970's and 80's. They also took requests for other animals, from other animals, performing with someone named Animal.Lorene Yarnell died in July 2010.
posted by not_on_display at 5:37 PM PST - 19 comments

Auroras, anyone?
Sunspot 1158 is acting up. It looks like one of the more active sunspots in the current cycle has erupted with a series of (relatively) rapid-fire solar flares, pointing directly at the Earth. It looks like this evening/tomorrow morning will be prime-time for looking north if you are as far south as, oh maybe Wisconsin or so. You can hear the flares, too.
posted by pjern at 5:32 PM PST - 30 comments

A Soundtrack of Love and Heartbreak, curated by 50+ artists
eMusic has a collection of more than 50 artists reflecting on love songs, from Andreya Triana (Coldplay's "Yellow" reminds of her first love and heartbreak), to Yuki Chikudate (from Asobi Seksu) (Debbie Gibson's "Lost in Your Eyes" brings back the innocent early-elementary school crushes), and Dan Deacon (who heard Yo La Tengo's "Shadows" after a sucky breakup). All songs mentioned are linked below the break. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief at 5:09 PM PST - 5 comments

Potemkin Productions
"In 2006 I was invited to take part in one of the great adventures of modern broadcasting – conquering the booming Russian television market." Peter Pomerantsev remembers his time in the Russian television industry. [more inside]
posted by vidur at 5:00 PM PST - 14 comments

What's Alan Watching
Alan Sepinwall changed the nature of television criticism [more inside]
posted by FfejL at 4:21 PM PST - 22 comments

The Genesis and History of the Macintosh Project
This is a short history and background of the Macintosh research project on the eve of its becoming a product.
posted by Joe Beese at 4:19 PM PST - 12 comments

Watching you watch There Will Be Blood
"The result is almost unprecedented in film studies, I think: an effort to test a critic’s analysis against measurable effects of a movie." - Watching You Watch There Will Be Blood [more inside]
posted by brundlefly at 3:22 PM PST - 41 comments

I don't like sweet things... except for her!
superharmony.com... where Love is Super
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 2:51 PM PST - 12 comments

Google "Parody". Or Bing it. Or Blekko It.
The Content Farm is a not-very-subtle satire of The New Web Journalism (currently accepting submissions*) which got a surprising bit of (not good?) publicity by being used as an 'example' in Google's announcement of its Content Farm Blocking Chrome Extension. Why did it get singled out? Why not this Content Farm? [more inside]
posted by oneswellfoop at 1:36 PM PST - 43 comments

Just when you thought it was safe to beat off in the water
A newfound chemical drives male squid berserk, and the molecule appears similar to ones seen in humans, scientists now say. (Previously)
posted by ActingTheGoat at 1:34 PM PST - 80 comments

Samson Young
Composer Samson Young leads an impromptu iPhone orchestra in one of his pattern sequencer compositions at the 2009 Hong Kong Biennale, and once more here at the Hong Kong Art Fair 2010.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:10 PM PST - 2 comments

Where Loss Is Found
LOST Magazine covers things abandoned, displaced, and lost, with many issues covering a particular theme: food, money, sounds, print, lost in space, at sea. Other issues are collections of journalism, memoir, poetry, photography, and fiction: first-person accounts of lost memories, diary entries, crime scenes, ruins, languages, relics and lost species, among many others. [more inside]
posted by Bora Horza Gobuchul at 12:34 PM PST - 8 comments

God damn it, you've got to be kind.
15 Things Kurt Vonnegut Said Better Than Anyone Else Ever Has Or Will
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 12:26 PM PST - 107 comments

Two Blobs Fucking
"The more devices, the more harmonic possibilities can be constructed. You and your device, at one with the music, become the orchestra, just as the Gods of Technology naturally intended it to be." [more inside]
posted by Threeway Handshake at 12:08 PM PST - 19 comments

New Egyptian régime blows its chance to legitimately use the Papyrus font
The new Egyptian régime blows its chance to legitimately use the Papyrus font. The Egyptian president’s official site (for standardistas: HTML 3.2 with no language declared!) squanders a chance at typographic symbolism, Typophile explains: “Unfortunately, they had a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to legitimately use Papyrus and they blew it. Instead it’s Algerian.” (Type specimens: Papyrus; Algerian. Cf. Papyrus Watch [previously].)
posted by joeclark at 10:56 AM PST - 71 comments

The silence of his departure
Jazz piano great Sir George Shearing has died at 91. [more inside]
posted by Bromius at 10:39 AM PST - 27 comments

Against Intent
The landmark Blackstone Hotel in downtown Chicago, which has hosted 12 U.S. presidents, opened in 2008 after a two-year, $116 million renovation. Inside the Beaux Arts structure, built in 1910, buffed marble staircases greet guests spending up to $699 a night for rooms with views of Lake Michigan. What’s surprising isn’t the opulent makeover: It’s how the project was financed. The work was subsidized by a federal development program intended to help poor communities.
posted by hippybear at 10:24 AM PST - 35 comments

Chase Britton Doesn't Have a Cerbellum
Chase Britton was born without a cerebellum. And doctors are stunned by his ability to live a relatively normal life for a three year old. Chase was born prematurely and is also legally blind.
posted by zizzle at 10:14 AM PST - 65 comments

A Quest For Gameplay
GLOBALTIMOTO - one man, on a motorcycle, around the world, in a quest for gameplay.
posted by jtron at 10:13 AM PST - 1 comments

It's all north from here
Last February work was completed on the South Pole Station. Curious how all that material gets to the bottom of the world? Not enough time to sit through YouTube goodness? Catch up on the latest research or just get a dose of cuteness. (my first post here...go easy on me!)
posted by ironbob at 10:06 AM PST - 20 comments

A post about a page that posts posters.
Reelizer is a curated collection of re-imagined movie posters.
posted by Memo at 9:25 AM PST - 15 comments

Deep Space N
Introducing the Nautilus-X MMSEV, a manned deep space craft proposed by a team at NASA's Johnson Space Centre.
posted by Artw at 9:25 AM PST - 42 comments

I like my glitchy haze-pop free
Rejoice! Bradford Cox (of Atlas Sound) has released not one, but four albums for free download.
Bedroom Databank vol 1 + Bedroom Databank vol 2 + Bedroom Databank vol 3 + Bedroom Databank vol 4
posted by dunkadunc at 9:00 AM PST - 16 comments

Unfinished Sentence
Imagine your hometown never changed. That no one ever grew old or moved on. Part book, part film, part family photo album, Welcome to Pine Point unearths a place frozen in time and discovers what happens when an entire community is erased from the map. [Autoplaying music/film in links] [more inside]
posted by Potomac Avenue at 8:14 AM PST - 28 comments

Emotional Baggage
Short Film: The Secret Life of a Suitcase. [SL]
posted by rageagainsttherobots at 7:34 AM PST - 9 comments

For better or worse
“This house believes that the global elite serve the masses.” The Economist’s latest online debate questions the role of the global elite in western society.
posted by londonmark at 7:23 AM PST - 43 comments

When in doubt, shout!
A list of warning signs that your opinions function more to signal loyalty and ability than to estimate truth. (Previously)
posted by anotherpanacea at 6:21 AM PST - 101 comments

Phideaux Xavier
By day, Phideaux Xavier directs soap operas such as General Hospital and Days of Our Lives. By night, alongside singer Valerie Gracious, sax player Johnny Unicorn, the rest of his 10-piece band, and accompanied by his "pesky orchestra", Phideaux creates funny, serious, doomy, derivative, innovative, pretentious, goth-tinged space folk "prog" rock. Witness — Part 1: Micro Softdeathstar. Part 2: Microdeath Softstar
posted by Khalad at 4:56 AM PST - 9 comments

The King of Limbs
Once again, Radiohead give the music industry a monkey rub by announcing today that their next record - 'The King of Limbs' - is complete and will be available for download in less than 1 week's time. This time with Prix Fixe pre-order.
posted by robself at 4:30 AM PST - 253 comments

St Pancras Renaissance Hotel
The opening of a hotel doesn't normally excite me like this. But anyone who has passed near Kings Cross/St Pancras, London will quite likely share my intrigue with this extraordinary building that has been closed to the public for a generation. [more inside]
posted by Neil Hunt at 3:51 AM PST - 30 comments

What you need to do is find yourself a new heart container and fill it.
NintendoFilter: Remi Kart: Mario Kart in the streets and grocery stores of France (via). The Legend of Zelda as a 1980s teen movie (via).
posted by NoraReed at 1:32 AM PST - 17 comments