Darrell Maclaine is an impressionist who has been making videos in lockdown singing UK TV themes in the style of famous artistes. [more inside]
How well do masks work? (YouTube: It's Okay To Be Smart). Quite well, of course, if worn properly, and Schlieren photography (Wikipedia) gives a great visualization of just how well they do.
Descendents of Frederick Douglass read his 4th of July speech. In this speech, to an abolitionist group, Douglass questions the celebration of freedom, for in 1852, was not granted to him. [more inside]
My relationship with Jordan has taught me more about race than any protest or rally ever could.
Genevieve Roth on unknown privilege.
Genevieve Roth on unknown privilege.
"...the bailout ‘has been described as a stimulus’ but it is ‘more accurately’ for ‘stability and relief’. It is better understood, that is, as an instrument for enabling non-financial and financial businesses to continue along the path they had already been taking—to the extent indeed they wished to do so—by placing money in their hands without conditions on how they should spend it, rather than burdened by conditions designed to set them on another path." Robert Brenner, NLR
Jay and Josh from Red Letter Media talk about UHF, the only feature film vehicle for Weird Al Yankovic.
Pet Shop Boys recently released remastered HD versions of 5 of their classic videos: Domino Dancing, West End Girls, What Have I Done To Deserve This?, It's A Sin, Go West. YouTube Playlist
The pandemic and the protests inspire works of lamentation and rage. African-Americans are severely underrepresented in classical music, although you wouldn’t necessarily know it from the frequency with which people of color are now featured in promotional brochures. Online discussions in the wake of nationwide Black Lives Matter protests have made clear how uncomfortable the role of a black classical musician can be. [more inside]
Seriously, all about bison. Exactly what it says on the tin. Bison!
The Last of Us Part 2 proves gaming doesn’t know how to deal with muscular women by Patricia Hernandez [Polygon] “Abby, a new character introduced in The Last of Us Part 2, does not fit the mold. Her face is anchored by a square jaw, which gives her visage a wider look — at least, compared to the heart-shaped face that defines most women in games. Perhaps most notably, Abby is buff. Your eyes are drawn to her chest and muscular arms, which, according to The Last of Us Part 2, she worked very hard across multiple years to beef up. [...] It’s been baffling to see some of the popular dissenting opinion on the game, which often directed against Abby. Part of the dislike seems unavoidable: The Last of Us Part 2 asks you to play as a character who is fundamentally opposed to the heroes we’ve spent hours learning to love and protect. Abby is a hard sell, and that would be true no matter what she looked like. But much of the hate visible on social media isn’t just about the story and Abby’s likability compared to Ellie and Joel, it’s fixated on Abby’s jacked-up body. [And the voice actor who played her]” [more inside]
Massive protests last year in Hong Kong (previously, previously, previously, previously) succeeded in getting an extradition bill scrapped. But now the Beijing government has passed a sweeping security law for Hong Kong which has led to immediate arrests, the purging of social media accounts and disbanding of protest groups, support from businesses including British banking giant HSBC, and fears that the new law covers everyone on earth. If you've been critical of Chinese or Hong Kong authorities, some legal experts are saying, don't board a Cathay Pacific flight or travel to countries which have an extradition treaty with Hong Kong. [more inside]
The international foot is exactly 0.3048 of a meter, whereas the U.S. survey foot, 1200/3937 of a meter, has an unending decimal. This means that anyone working in multiple U.S. locations or with different agencies must keep careful track of which foot is in use.
Musician/ sculptor Bichopalo builds complex music machines from unusual objects. The machines feature plants where possible as well as other natural elements like sticks and water. They also include small spherical elements that double as bird houses to host Bichopalo’s two pet birds, Pico and Verdi. (Designboom) (Instagram) (short videos re-posted to Imgur)
Selo i Ludy (Село і люди) - It's My Life, Thunderstruck, Enter Sandman, Money for Nothing, Smoke on the Water, I Want to Break Free, Satisfaction, Yellow Submarine, Pretty Woman, I Will Always Love You, Light My Fire, Losing My Religion, Take on Me. (YouTube launch points: Selo i Ludy, Russkaja, Gogol Bordello)
Happy (Belated) Pollinator Week! US Forest Service's Pollinator of the Month includes Bats, Bees, Beetles, Birds, Butterflies, Flies, Moths, Mosquitos, and Wasps. What what? Yes, snow pool mosquitos, flower flies, and pollen wasps are all important pollinators (Pollen wasps look like yellow jackets but "are more like Ferdinand the Bull, who was more interested in smelling flowers.") And don't forget the cacao pollinator, the chocolate midge. [more inside]
Optical Arts conceived this video as a “live action musical animation” of cups, plates, and glasses smashing and un-smashing accompanied by the toccata section of Johann Sebastian Bach’s famous organ piece, Toccata and Fugue in D Minor. I thought it was fully CGI at first (as The Morning News reported), but then I found the making of video on the project page and it’s not — they filmed all the glasses and dished smashing at extremely high speeds between 1000 and 5000 frames/second on Phantom cameras.
MetaFilter favorite Cyriak (previously) is back, and teaming up with legendary band Sparks for their newest music video: "The Existential Threat".
How is Duran Duran's Simon LeBon staying busy during the pandemic lockdown? In late April he started up a podcast WHOOOSH!. It's available to listen to online. So far there are 11 episodes, and they are full of interesting music and discussion. No RSS feed, but here's a YouTube playlist (audio only) of the episodes thus far, I assume it will continue to be updated.
On rewriting the terms of engagement with images of Black suffering. Images of Black suffering, death, and protest have widely circulated on the internet before: for example in 2012 after 17-year-old Trayvon Martin’s murder by George Zimmerman, or in 2014 after Michael Brown was shot in the back by Ferguson police officers. One difference this time is that it’s not just that people who already saw themselves as activists who have called their online followers to take to the streets and participate, but formerly nonactivist users have become politicized and seized upon the feed as a politicized space to engage in an activism of their own.
Islamic history and medicine in trans Muslim lives. A post by Shireen Hamza on the Journal of the History of Ideas blog, on uncovering sex and gender in pre-modern Islamic law, medicine and society. [more inside]
Elin Thomas makes corals, petri dishes, and moldy stuff using embroidery and crochet, along with other art.
"Ruth Marten started out as a tattoo artist (Sang Bleu Magazine interview), working on the fringes of the art world in her Native New York, long before tattooing became the socially acceptable, ubiquitous phenomena it is today. She then moved to working on paper and a long and prolific period working as an illustrator for a diverse range of clients (Flash gallery) including Jean Paul Goude, the renowned French graphic designer, producing illustrations for books, magazines and album covers. She then started to make and exhibit her own, very particular, works on paper." (Inhale Magazine) [more inside]
The Icelandic national football team introduced its new crest today with an absolutely epic, goosebump-inducing video (directed by their goaltender, no less). Visit the micro site to learn more.
"Dogs do not simply age at seven times the rate of humans, scientists have found in a study that reveals young dogs might be “older” than previously thought" [more inside]
Long-form article by Pulitzer winner Isabel Wilkerson. Reading it, I got the feeling that caste has been a missing link in my vocabulary.
"[Dollar] stores are throughout our community, but they have no interest in the community. They’re not giving nothing back. They give nothing back.” [more inside]
NYT technology reporter Taylor Lorenz covers internet culture including The End of Friendly Generational Relations, influencers posting fake brand deals, and Instagram's harassment problem (all on Mefi). Today, it emerged she's been the target of threats and harassment by prominent tech VCs on the private Silicon Valley social network Clubhouse. Notably, Ben Horowitz, co-founder of a16z, has declined to help.
Ghislaine Maxwell arrested by FBI and accused of 'setting trap' for Epstein victims. Maxwell was arrested in New Hampshire and an FBI indictment charges her with several crimes[NYT link , disturbing content]. [more inside]
Writing in Medium, Laurie Penny provides a backgrounder on the rise of left wing transphobia in the UK, and its damaging impact both in Britain and internationally.(SLMedium) [more inside]
How to Pick a Perfect Watermelon. The Best Way to Cut a Watermelon. An Ode to Watermelon. When Bad Watermelons Explode on Good People. 21 Watermelon Recipes to Make This Summer. The Health Benefits of Watermelon. The Reason Why Southerners Love Putting Salt on Watermelon. What Is Yellow Watermelon? Watermelon Varieties – Common Types and Their Tastes. Five of Our Favorite “Watermelon” Scenes in Movies. A Game Where You Slap A Watermelon To Learn About The Existential Horror Of Being A Watermelon. The 5,000-Year Secret History of the Watermelon. How Watermelons Became a Racist Trope. 18 Super Cool Watermelon Tattoo Ideas. The Heaviest Watermelon. How to Eat a Watermelon. How to Carve a Watermelon T Rex Dinosaur. Just eat some watermelon, okay?
In the Covid-19 Economy, You Can Have a Kid or a Job. You Can’t Have Both. As the nation begins to make plans for reopening schools this fall, there is a looming childcare crisis. Many families are struggling with decisions about whether to send children to reopened child care and how to balance work and schools that may be opening on a part-time basis. [more inside]
The Problem of ‘Colonial Science’ (Scientific American): "This was my first experience with "parachute science" or, as some might call it, "colonial science" -- the conservation model where researchers from the developed world come to countries like mine, do research and leave without any investment in human capacity or infrastructure. It creates a dependency on external expertise and cripples local conservation efforts. The work is driven by the outsiders' assumptions, motives and personal needs, leading to an unfavorable power imbalance between those from outside and those on the ground. [...] If we acknowledged that working anywhere other than our own home country is a privilege and not a right, and if we all looked to learn and share equally and were equally equipped to do research based on the needs on the ground, then we would be better off than we are right now."
The Free Black University is a hub for radical and transformative knowledge production. "The Free Black University exists to re-distribute knowledge and act as a space of incubation for the creation of transformative knowledge in the Black community. We firmly believe education should centre Black people healing and it should be free, anti-colonial, and accessible to all – so we will provide it." [more inside]
"Kharkovchanka" were giant snow tracked vehicles built by the soviets for use in Antarctic exploration from the 1950s onwards. They were designed and assembled (in 3 months) to act in the manner of a giant tracked spaceships - housing crew and towing supplies. Following a successful initial overland journey to the South Pole they have been in successful deployment for decades since. Youtuber Calum tells their story. [more inside]
On Friday, June 26, First Peoples Worldwide and members of the Yethiya wihe’ / Investors & Indigenous Peoples Working Group (IIPWG) sent letters to three major sponsors of the Washington, DC NFL football team—Nike (PDF), PepsiCo (PDF), and FedEx (PDF)—signed by 87 investment firms and shareholders worth a collective $620 billion, asking the sponsors to cut any support to the team until they Change The Name. “We need to remember that the franchise name is not just a word, it is a symbol that loudly and clearly signals that Native Americans are not worthy of respect.” [more inside]
Last week a football match in the UK was the backdrop of a particularly racist episode: while players took the knee in support of BlackLivesMatter, some "fans" of the local team flew a banner above the stadium that read "White Lives Matter"*. Cambridge academic (and Guardian contributor) Dr Priyamvada Gopal tweeted in response "white lives don’t matter" (with the qualifier "as white lives"), and found herself the target of racist abuse. Her colleague Nicholas Guyatt, professor of American history at Cambridge University, shared in this thread on Twitter [Threadreader] a few insightful observations about the whole episode and the reactions to it, specific racist attitudes in British media & politics** and white privilege in general. [more inside]
International cooperation between police forces enabled them to spy on an encrypted phone network, Encrochat, since the 1st April 2020. The result is a massive operation arresting 746 suspects in the UK alone. [more inside]
I originally wrote this because I was a little irritated at reading books in which the heroine left London in the morning and had tea in Devon. Presumably she shoehorned a V-8 into her carriage and the horses were just for show.
"It’s not just that heartless people are more likely to become rich. I’m saying that being rich tends to corrode whatever heart you’ve got left." Terrific summary of research covering the corrosive effects of inequality, how we can (and should) resist it, and ultimately talking about the fact that rich people aren't assholes, rather being rich makes us all assholes.
In May 1997, the same month that The Lost World: Jurassic Park (trailer) debuted in the United States, the U.S. Postal Service released (Virtual Stamp Club) 15 stamps depicting various dinosaurs and extinct reptiles (paleophilatelie.eu). Except, as sharp-eyed paleontologist Christopher Brochu (Univ. of Iowa) noted, Goniopholis (Wikipedia) was actually based on the contemporary Nile crocodile (National Geographic). The Rise and Fall of the Living Fossil. The idea that some species are relics that have stopped evolving is finally going extinct. (Nautilus) Come for the re-consideration of ancient crocodilians and crocodyliforms, stay for the re-discovery of the "tame" desert crocodiles (Reptiles Magazine).
Aram Bedrosian plays amazing music on solo electric and acoustic bass guitar (with occasional collaborations). My current favorite - Weightless. His YT Channel. [more inside]