April 25, 2010
There is such infinite dirty pleasure in burning a righteous kook. An introduction to the sometimes violent phenomenon of surfer localism and the strict enforcement of surf etiquette. A Tragicomedy of the Surfers' Commons?
Da N-Viro Thugz Present "The Answer", examining the plastic coffee cups sold at Humber College along with your drink. [more inside]
Most people consider the remote control helicopter quite intimidating. As a beginner, your first few hovers are pure white-knuckle terror. Thanks to negative pitch, these little helis can fly inverted. And some people can do truly awe-inspiring freestyle routines (this style of flying is called "3D"). Part of the reason they're so intimidating is that nearly every crash is a total writeoff. Keep in mind, these aren't Radio Shack toys; they sometimes kill people [more inside]
Here's a mostly working replica Star Trek Phaser. Original series, of course. Build pics and description here.
A kind of Hump Day manqué. Travis Matthews started out directing semi-explicit, often naked video interviews, shot in their own bedrooms, of the scruffy, impoverished, underexercised gay intellectuals who are a core readership of Butt magazine (previously; before that). Thus begat In Their Room (SFW), which “veers into the bedrooms of eight different men where you see them doing everything from the most banal to the most erotic.” Sounds like a smashing idea for a feature film in the “amateur porn” genre, does it not? After an open casting call for a guy willing to bottom, whom he duly found, Matthews has released a 20-minute trailer (definitely NSFW).
George Gerbner, a pioneer in the research of TV's effects on society, advocated a theory called Mean World Syndrome. According to this theory, exposure to the media leads people to believe the world is more dangerous than it actually is, because of violent programming and terrifying news programs. This is part of cultivation theory, the idea that humans are brought up in a culture of stories, reflect those stories, and that TV is now our main storyteller.
Five years before Toy Story proved to the world that pure CGI -- a field long relegated to the role of special effects -- could be an art form in its own right, Odyssey Productions attempted to do the same on a slightly smaller scale. Drawing on the demo reels, commercials, music videos, and feature films of over 300 digital animators, the studio collated dozens of cutting-edge clips into an ambitious 40-minute art film called The Mind's Eye. Backed by an eclectic mix of custom-written electronic, classical, oriental, and tribal music, the surreal, dreamlike imagery formed a rough narrative in eight short segments that illustrated the evolution of life, technology, and human society: Creation - Civilization Rising - Heart of the Machine - Technodance - Post Modern - Love Found - Leaving the Bonds of Earth - The Temple - End credits (including names and sources for all clips used). But that was just the beginning... [more inside]
“In all honesty, we don’t know when it’s coming back for sure” - The US Air Force's first launch of the X-37b reusable space vehicle has provoked much speculation, with some even wondering if the Pentagon is reviving Nazi space-bomber plans. But was the launch of spaceplane an attempt to mask the launch of another secret weapon?
Last night I was flipping through the TV channels, and I ended up watching part of a strange rock musical from 1974 called Phantom Of The Paradise... [more inside]
"Welcome to the simplicity movement, the ethos whose mantras are "cutting back," "focusing on the essentials," "reconnecting to the land" - and talking, talking, talking about how fulfilled it all makes you feel." Charlotte Allen of In Character about the Simplicity Movement, magazines, wild boars, virtue, and 350$ riding boots.
In the capital of Turkmenistan stands an enormous statue of a book. Every evening at 8PM, the statue swings open and a recently deceased dictator's magnum opus, the Ruhnama, is broadcast throughout the square while a video from within the statue shows his image. Four years after the death of Turkmenbashi, the state continues to portray his book as a sacred text and has coerced foreign business partners to translate it into 22 languages. A team of Finnish filmmakers snuck into Turkmenistan to discover the continued presence of the Ruhnama. (YouTube, 10 parts, part 5 has no audio)
Homeless man Hugo Alfredo Tale-Yax was stabbed several times in the chest while saving a woman from a knife-wielding attacker in New York City. He then bled to death while dozens of people walked by -- one stopping to snap a picture of the dying man with his cameraphone before leaving the scene. [more inside]
Alan Sillitoe dies. The acclaimed English working class writer was perhaps best known for Saturday Night and Sunday Morning (1958) and short story The Loneliness Of The Long Distance Runner (1959) (as both were later successfully adapted as films), but Sillitoe was also playwright, poet, travel writer and children's book author. D. J. Taylor does the man justice in an article for the TLS from 2008 when Sillitoe turned 80.
America & Nation Building: John Clint Williamson, a career federal prosecutor, now serving as the U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for War Crimes Issues, gives a TEDx talk on how to rebuild failed states, from the Balkans to Iraq. Sounds similar to Thomas P.M. Barnett's call for a U.S.-run International "SysAdmin". Williamson's speech at Seton Hall: SLYT
The Benedict Condom: The British Government has apologised to the Pope over official documents that mocked his forthcoming visit to the UK by suggesting he should bless a gay marriage and even launch Papal-branded condoms. [more inside]