February 14, 2011
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.
"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.
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.
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]
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.
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.
"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]
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.
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.
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]
"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]
This is a short history and background of the Macintosh research project on the eve of its becoming a product.
"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]
superharmony.com... where Love is Super
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]
A newfound chemical drives male squid berserk, and the molecule appears similar to ones seen in humans, scientists now say. (Previously)
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.
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]
"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]
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].)
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.
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.
GLOBALTIMOTO - one man, on a motorcycle, around the world, in a quest for gameplay.
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!)
Reelizer is a curated collection of re-imagined movie posters.
Introducing the Nautilus-X MMSEV, a manned deep space craft proposed by a team at NASA's Johnson Space Centre.
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
Bedroom Databank vol 1 + Bedroom Databank vol 2 + Bedroom Databank vol 3 + Bedroom Databank vol 4
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]
Short Film: The Secret Life of a Suitcase. [SL]
“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.
A list of warning signs that your opinions function more to signal loyalty and ability than to estimate truth. (Previously)
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
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.
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]
NintendoFilter: Remi Kart: Mario Kart in the streets and grocery stores of France (via). The Legend of Zelda as a 1980s teen movie (via).