January 11, 2013

Making a shakuhachi with (and by) feel ...

The Japanese shakuhachi (flute) is not a particularly complex device - not much more than a length of bamboo with 5 holes drilled in it. Might be kind of easy to make one, don't you think? Well at least if you can see what you are doing. In this 11 minute documentary video, meet Kelvin Falconer, who makes shakuhachi from bamboo growing on his property in New Zealand, but who must do so completely by touch (and ear), as he is blind.
posted by woodblock100 at 11:29 PM PST - 3 comments

What a difference a few seasons make.

Less than 20 months after the historic Spring 2011 (previously on MeFi) floods, the Mississippi River may be at similarly historic low levels and flow. Shipping commerce and even drinking water for towns and cities dependent on the Mississippi are under severe threat. [more inside]
posted by paulsc at 11:26 PM PST - 11 comments

Nothing Else Matters

Kathryn Bigelow's striking bin Laden manhunt thriller Zero Dark Thirty arrives in wide release tonight on the heels of a final artful trailer -- one with oddly familiar musical accompaniment. The funereal hymn, a cover of Metallica's "Nothing Else Matters" (lyrics), deftly recasts the 90s power ballad as a haunting dirge of quiet grief, shattered ideals, and a singleminded focus on revenge, a perfect distillation of the film's profoundly grim thesis. But while the song may be fitting, it wasn't composed for the project -- it's just the latest success story from Belgian women's choir Scala & Kolacny Brothers, whose mournful reinterpretations of classic and modern rock -- catapulted by their rendition of "Creep" in The Social Network -- have made them famous around the world, with star turns in the likes of Homeland ("Every Breath You Take") and Downton Abbey ("With or Without You"). Cover comparison site WhoSampled offers a list of YouTube comparisons between the covers and the originals; look inside for more of their work in movies and television. [more inside]
posted by Rhaomi at 8:31 PM PST - 51 comments

HERadventure

HERadventure -- "What would happen if the societal issues affecting women put other planets at risk? Well, of course, HER, a Black female superhero, would swoop in with a plan to save the universe. HER is central to HERadventure, a science fiction-based, multimedia platform project that interweaves virtual worlds, digital and social media to create a gaming and storytelling experience. HERadventure not only entertains but tackles social issues that permeate the daily reality of many women." [more inside]
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 7:58 PM PST - 5 comments

Nicholson Reads Kipling

Jack Nicholson reads Kipling's Just So Stories with music by Bobby McFerrin Part 2
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 7:47 PM PST - 14 comments

Green ant tea, anyone?

Major Doctor Les Hiddins was survivaling in the wilderness long before Bear Grylls. He did it with compassion, intelligence, and good humour. (No, he isn't dead.) [more inside]
posted by turgid dahlia 2 at 6:41 PM PST - 36 comments

Badgering the Publishers? The Publishers Badger You Back!

Shimmer Magazine reveals "The Truth About Rejection Letters" It involves badgers.
posted by oneswellfoop at 6:26 PM PST - 3 comments

This Isn't the Petition Response You're Looking For

US citizens petitioned the White House to "secure resources and funding, and begin construction of a Death Star by 2016" (previously). The White House (or, more specifically, Paul Shawcross, Chief of the Science and Space Branch at the White House Office of Management and Budget) responded.
posted by capricorn at 6:21 PM PST - 66 comments

"Only the invented parts of our life had any meaning."

Living Well Is the Best Revenge by Calvin Tomkins is a classic New Yorker profile of Gerald and Sara Murphy, central figures of the Lost Generation social circle in 1920s France. F. Scott Fitzgerald created Dick and Nicole Diver, the central couple of Tender Is the Night, by merging himself and his wife Zelda, with the Murphys. Gerald was a painter of note (examples: 1, 2, 3, 4), whose masterpiece has been lost. After seven years of painting, Murphy stopped, and never restarted, for a host of reasons, from the illness of his son to his closeted gayness. But the Murphys are probably best known for "the special quality of their life." They hosted parties and lived in a villa on the Mediterranean coast and were both painted by many artists, including Pablo Picasso. They were the subject of a recent biography and an essay collection.
posted by Kattullus at 6:17 PM PST - 10 comments

Initializing Motivation Protocol

"It's amazing what can be done with nothing more than a computer, time and a boatload of talent." R'ha is a short film created in seven months by aspiring director Kaleb Lechowski, 22.
posted by Fuzzy Monster at 5:54 PM PST - 15 comments

Don't mock a quokka

When 17th-century Dutch captain Willem de Vlamingh encountered what he described as "a kind of rat as big as a common cat" on on island off the western coast of Australia, he quickly dubbed it "Rats' Nest". Despite the insult, these marsupials aren't known to hold a grudge: the Quokkas, native to what is still known as Rottnest Island and nearby isles, are some of the happiest-looking, most inquisitive furry critters around.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 4:50 PM PST - 25 comments

Patrick Stewart: Poetry, Kissing, Crotch-Grabbing

Patrick Stewart performed with NYC's Improvised Shakespeare Company. Famed thespian Stewart joined five lads from Chicago to perform improvised Shakespeare this past week. The Improvised Shakespeare Company reports that "Patrick Stewart is the coolest person [they] know."
posted by Joey Michaels at 3:45 PM PST - 28 comments

Poor Yorick! I knew him, Horatio

Cancerous skull (NSFW for some links of skulls below)
Carved skull
Just some skulls I picked up today from my skull guy...yeah, I have a skull guy”
Tree
Tibetan Ritual Skull
Too many drinks?
Skull Bookshelves Formed with Everyday Items
Crania Anatomica Filigre by Joshua Harker
Lies & persuasions by Kris Kuksi
Lily of the Valley (Welcome BB fans)
A skull made from typewriter parts
Apple & potato skull [more inside]
posted by growabrain at 3:23 PM PST - 30 comments

NEW KINTOBOR VIDEO: DECLARES HIMSELF ROBOTNIK

The intention of making this film was for it to be a spec film, with the primary purpose being to show how a Sonic the Hedgehog film, in a live action environment, can be executed. [more inside]
posted by Potomac Avenue at 2:24 PM PST - 48 comments

Revelator is a Revelation!

You may remember this oldie but goodie from 1969: Everybody’s Talkin’ (Harry Nilsson) Now, let’s blues it UP. Zowie! Surely I can't be the last person in the world to hear about the Tedeschi Trucks Band (or can I be?).
posted by spock at 1:02 PM PST - 22 comments

Peter Murphy does interpretive dance to ‘Hollow Hills’

Peter Murphy does interpretive dance to ‘Hollow Hills’ [more inside]
posted by Sailormom at 12:54 PM PST - 26 comments

Unreleased Celebrity Fragrances

27th Precinct by Jerry Orbach: Notes of pepperoni and shoe polish on an instant coffee base. Leathery, minimal, and cost-effective, this fragrance feels like a big, crusty hug...
posted by briank at 12:50 PM PST - 15 comments

Javascript music notation and rendering

VexFlow is an open-source web-based music notation rendering API which utilises the VexTab open specification to render notation as a client-side canvas [githubs 1 2] [tutorials 1 2].
posted by urbanwhaleshark at 12:40 PM PST - 11 comments

Violence is so good

Quentin Tarantino clashed with News anchor Krishnan Guru-Murthy during a fractious interview ahead of the London premiere of his new film. Tarantino has previously defended the gore that defines his movies, saying "that's the biggest attraction. I'm a big fan of action and violence in cinema".
posted by Lanark at 12:35 PM PST - 138 comments

An adorable teaching moment

Puppy teaches younger puppy how to go down the stairs. Cuteness ensues. SLYT
posted by lunasol at 12:24 PM PST - 51 comments

The most successful female tournament poker player in history

What It's Like to Be a Woman Who Plays Professional Poker is an Atlantic piece profiling Vanessa Selbst, an amazing poker player who just got engaged last weekend, as well as an examination of the challenges of being a professional poker player in an often hostile and sexist community.
posted by Lame_username at 12:17 PM PST - 21 comments

Roma in Hungary: A Hard Life

The status of Roma in Hungary has been brought into sharp focus with a controversial article [link in Hungarian] by prominent ruling-party FIDESZ member, Zsolt Bayer, in which he says, "a significant part of the Roma are unfit for co-existence. They are not fit to live among people. These Roma are animals and they behave like animals." The Guardian reports on the growing anger at the article, The Hungarian Spectrum, and well-known poet and translator of Hungarian literature George Szirtes weigh in with English translations of some of Bayer’s article. Many leading Hungarian politicians condemn the article. [more inside]
posted by vac2003 at 11:34 AM PST - 59 comments

They're waiting for you Gordon... in the tech demo.

An early alpha build of the genre changing game Half-Life has been leaked on to the internet. The alpha represents the state of the game about a year before its release, and Youtube user MarphitimusBlackimus has uploaded footage of: multiplayer, a technology demonstration, and a playthrough of a very rough single player mode. A bit more information about the leak here.
posted by codacorolla at 10:03 AM PST - 41 comments

"But don't ask me, I just wrote the song"

Eric Idle sings the theme song to Brian Cox's new series Wonders of Life: a remake of the Galaxy Song from The Meaning of Life. 'Nuff said.
posted by MartinWisse at 9:54 AM PST - 12 comments

"There is Not Much Demand for One Twin"

Vivian Brown, one of San Francisco's iconic Brown Twins has passed away. She had Alzheimer's and had suffered a bad fall several months ago. Her twin, Marian has been receiving an outpouring of assistance from fans and friends.
posted by agatha_magatha at 9:41 AM PST - 21 comments

Morgan Freeman

Morgan Freeman: Morgan Freeman [more inside]
posted by gwint at 9:28 AM PST - 30 comments

An Adaptable Accoutrement

A keffiyeh (also known as a kufiya, shemagh, and a ghutrah among its numerous other names) is a scarf commonly used in the Middle East for protection from the weather and elements, as well as for fashion and cultural identification. They are amazingly versatile and can be worn and utilized in many different ways. [more inside]
posted by quin at 9:15 AM PST - 38 comments

The Avengers script in detail

"The screenplay keeps so many balls in the air that everything feels lively and inventive and fun, even when the plot isn’t being forwarded, or especially when the plot isn’t being forwarded. " Todd Alcott, director, actor and screenwriter, is known for his exhaustive analysis of screenplays (previously, previously) turns his eye to the modern Superhero Genre with a complete break down of Marvel's The Avengers Part 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8 / 9 / 10 / 11 / 12 / 13 / 14 / 15 / 16 / 17
posted by The Whelk at 9:06 AM PST - 61 comments

Animation Pals

Four under-a-minute Animation Pals shorts, so far: Episode One: Introduction. Episode Two: Nude. Episode Three: An Impressive Butterfly. Episode Four: Training. You can follow them at the Animation Pals tumblr. Voiced and animated by Adventure Time's Pendleton Ward and Ian Quartey-Jones.
posted by Greg Nog at 8:46 AM PST - 2 comments

The many songs of Bertrand Goldberg, architect, artist, visionary.

Bertrand Goldberg is widely known as the architect who builds round buildings, but little is known about his innovative theories of space and his utopian ideas that have generated these sculptural forms. His work speaks with a vocabulary that is still unfamiliar to some and unappreciated by many. Goldberg’s often repeated statement, "for the first time in the history of the world we can build whatever we can think," seems to have been the beacon guiding his career. While many projects have been fully realized, some others have been only partially implemented, but all have grown out of Goldberg’s unique philosophical, aesthetic, and technological thinking.
From the preface to the Oral History of Bertrand Goldberg [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief at 8:44 AM PST - 14 comments

appa!

This little girl is really excited to talk to her dad.
posted by FirstMateKate at 8:24 AM PST - 32 comments

Where have all the cowboys gone?

Romance novelist Alisa Valdes' recent memoir The Cowboy and the Feminist describes how she found true love by forsaking her feminist opinions in favor of an assertive, independent cowboy (a staunchly traditional ranch manager) who to her embodied the best masculine qualities. Unfortunately, it turns out that the cowboy's masculine dominance turned into abuse, which Valdes described in a post-breakup blog post. Feminist writer Hannah Rosin, among others, was not surprised. According to Salon's Tracy Clark-Flory, Valdes said she took her post, which tends to contradict her book's message, down at the request of her publisher or agent. (via Lawyers, Guns and Money; warning: possible abuse and rape triggers)
posted by Gelatin at 8:23 AM PST - 109 comments

Enfant Terrible

Enfant Terrible. An interview with the terrifying Antoine D’Agata, a photographer for Magnum.
posted by chunking express at 8:15 AM PST - 4 comments

If Mini-Me took up knitting....

If you take your knitting everywhere and you're getting tired of stuffing the back of an adult-sized sweater and a 100g skein of worsted into your already bulging shoulder bag or backpack, you might try scaling down your knitting projects, as Althea Crome has done. Crome is a miniature knitter, and her projects are so tiny they'd fit into your pocket and still leave room for your cellphone. Her work is not only miniature but amazingly complex and detailed. She makes replicas of historical costumes such as a Queen Elizabeth I sweater, recreates famous paintings or other works of art, or depicts entire scenes, such as an underwater seascape, or Santa and all his eight tiny reindeer flying over a house. You can visit Crome's website, Bug Knits, to see galleries of her work. Crome also knitted some items for the 2009 3D stop-motion movie Coraline, including a sweater for the title character, and she talks about her work and demonstrates her "extreme knitting" in this promotional video for Coraline. If you want to give miniature knitting a shot yourself, you can buy some of Crome's patterns to help you get started, and I wish you the best. All I can think of when I see Crome in action is the time I decided to make ten Barbie outfits as part of a Christmas present for one of my nieces. I got four items done before I cracked and COULDN'T TAKE IT ANYMORE. Crome's patience and self-control are astounding, and I bet her children have the most exquisitely dressed Barbies ever.
posted by orange swan at 8:14 AM PST - 13 comments

Are you big in Japan?

On the flat top of a steep hill in a distant corner of northern Japan lies the tomb of an itinerant shepherd who, two millennia ago, settled down there to grow garlic. He fell in love with a farmer’s daughter named Miyuko, fathered three kids and died at the ripe old age of 106. In the mountain hamlet of Shingo, he’s remembered by the name Daitenku Taro Jurai. The rest of the world knows him as Jesus Christ. (previously)
posted by Chrysostom at 7:23 AM PST - 62 comments

White/Black: Photographic Landscapes from Michael Zimmerer

White Horizon
Ash Mountain
posted by OmieWise at 7:09 AM PST - 4 comments

Well, it's eliminated all the woes of the law profession ... right?

"Finland long ago decided to professionalize its teaching force to the point where teaching is now viewed on a par with other highly respected, learned professions like medicine and law. Today, only the best and brightest can and do become teachers: Just one in every 10 applicants are accepted to teacher preparation programs, which culminate in both an undergraduate degree and subject-specific Master's degree." Joel Klein argues that the US should follow Finland's lead and create, essentially, a bar exam for teachers, which would serve to professionalize them in the eyes of society and raise their societal value.
posted by barnacles at 7:07 AM PST - 83 comments

"...it's always good for a scientist to be proven wrong..."

Professor Martyn Poliakoff of Periodic Table Videos fame learns something about burning balloons full of hydrogen via high speed camera footage.
posted by loquacious at 4:37 AM PST - 34 comments

The interesting history of the fork

Medieval tines: A brief history of the fork. There are many further details in this Leite's Culinaria article, The Uncommon Origins of the Common Fork, linked in the post.
posted by daisyk at 4:33 AM PST - 36 comments

I am the gravestone and the photograph - part 2

"After the blast the entire building came down. As the rescue teams and journalists rushed to the scene, a second explosion took place." Hazaras are a religious minority who fled from Afghanistan. They are called infidels by Sunni extremist groups operating in Pakistan, and as an ethnic minority, are easily recognized and targeted. The Pakistani government has done nothing to stop these attacks. Last night, more than 83 people from my community lost their lives. For nothing. [more inside]
posted by legospaceman at 1:34 AM PST - 17 comments

Ecstatic surface design

Pinar & Viola are two Dutch post-internet artists whose work explores new totalitarian impulses and the decadence of global culture through what they call "ecstatic surface design". Pinar Demirdag and Viola Renate’s latest work takes inspiration from popular culture to lambast the absurdity of contemporary society using beach towels. They also cover Turkey's anti-evolutionist showgirls and interpret Frieze through Instagram. NSFW&Sanity warning before... Our website refers to little gif animations, kittens, lolcats, ‘Welcome to my homepage’, glitter, all the little decorations that make our daily lives more beautiful and joyful.
posted by infini at 1:33 AM PST - 14 comments

Houses from beyond the grave.

The latest foreclosure horror: the zombie title
The Kellers are caught up in a little-known horror of the U.S. housing bust: the zombie title. Six years in, thousands of homeowners are finding themselves legally liable for houses they didn't know they still owned after banks decided it wasn't worth their while to complete foreclosures on them. With impunity, banks have been walking away from foreclosures much the way some homeowners walked away from their mortgages when the housing market first crashed.
[more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns at 1:07 AM PST - 38 comments

Don't try this at home

How to listen to the radio with plants (and other objects)
posted by dunkadunc at 12:37 AM PST - 8 comments

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