1985 was a ridiculously strong year for music releases. June 1, 1985 saw the release of the debut album by a-ha, Hunting High And Low. Probably purchased by everyone because of That One Song and That One Video, it was a remarkably strong album [YT playlist], with other international hits. It continues to be a gem of 80s rock, even 35 years later. Side A: Take On Me [video version one, video version two (this is the one you remember)], Train Of Thought [video], Hunting High And Low [video], The Blue Sky, Living A Boy's Adventure Tale [more inside]
There’s a lot going on in this film: satire of the Japanese craze for European-style fine dining, comic reappropriation of American Westerns and Kurosawa, criticism of the relegation of women to the least prestigious kinds of cooking. In one of the movie’s many surreal interludes, a dying woman rises from her sickbed to cook one last dinner before expiring. My Quarantine: Savoring the Ramen Western by Sophie Pinkham for NY Books. Except Tampopo is far from the first western-styled Japanese movie, as discussed in Ramen Westerns: Far East Meets Old West from Criminal Elements, which looks at the movie exchanges between Japan and the United States. [more inside]
The Thick Blue Line - Patrick Blanchfield reviews Stuart Schraders' book Badges Without Borders, which covers the intertwined histories of policing and counterinsurgency in the United States.
Better remembered today by his nickname, “Bull” Connor was an outspoken white supremacist who believed desegregation was a communist plot; just five years earlier, as commissioner of public safety in Birmingham, he had notoriously unleashed riot police, fire hoses, and attack dogs on nonviolent civil rights protesters. That such a man should have been on the receiving end of America’s first 911 call is fitting. As Stuart Schrader reveals in his new book, Badges Without Borders: How Global Counterinsurgency Transformed American Policing, the United States’ 911 system was modeled on an earlier program pioneered by American-funded police forces fighting a Marxist insurgency in Caracas.[more inside]
Over the past 20 years, renowned illustrator John Burgoyne has produced more than 150 intricate, hand-drawn illustrations for Cook’s Illustrated magazine. In 1886, the US Government Commissioned 7,500 watercolor paintings of every known fruit in the world. Now, using materials from the USDA Pomological Watercolor Collection, you can make your own Cook's Illustrated poster! (Some assembly required.) 2019 OpenCulture article on the collection is here, with great examples and interesting context. My own fave, the pawpaw. [more inside]
Laura Kampf gives some Workshop Tips - Measuring, Marking & Math tips about how to avoid using math while making stuff.
This Lickable Screen Can Recreate Almost Any Taste or Flavor Without Eating Food (Gizmodo): "…The Norimaki Synthesizer takes a more aggressive approach through the use of five gels that trigger the five different tastes when they make contact with the human tongue. ¶The color-coded gels, made from agar formed in the shape of long tubes, use glycine to create the taste of sweet, citric acid for acidic, sodium chloride for salty, magnesium chloride for bitter, and glutamic sodium for savory umami. When the device is pressed against the tongue (Youtube), the user experiences all five tastes at the same time, but specific flavors are created by mixing those tastes in specific amounts and intensities, like the RGB pixels on a screen. To accomplish this, the prototype is wrapped in copper foil so that when it’s held in hand and touched to the surface of the tongue, it forms an electrical circuit through the human body, facilitating a technique known as electrophoresis." [more inside]
Both Michael Roth’s The Web Opera and HERE’s all decisions are made by consensus use our screen-mediated world as a narrative given.
1985 was a ridiculously strong year for music releases. June 1, 1985 saw the release of Sting's first solo album The Dream Of The Blue Turtles [YT playlist]. It was inescapable for months, with massive hit singles. And it has Branford Marsalis on saxophone! Side A: If You Love Somebody Set Them Free [video], Love Is The Seventh Wave [video], Russians* [video], Chidren's Crusade, Shadows In The Rain [more inside]
It's been about four hundred years since the Imp Girls landed at Hot Lumpy Rock. Here's a map of what eventually became the Much Sass State. [avi: Orgy Pant Hobos]
Leontyne Price is the legendary American soprano and the first African American to become a lead performer at the Metropolitan Opera. On Jan. 1st, 1985, at age 58, she sang her farewell performance on the Met Stage in the role of Verdi's Aida. In this highly emotional video from that night, she sings the iconic aria O Patria Mia and the audience responds with a rapturous applause. (slyt) [more inside]
If you've walked past the corner of 7th Avenue South and Christopher Street in New York City, you might have noticed a little triangular mosaic in front of Village Cigars (Google streetview) that reads "Property of Hess Estate which has never been dedicated for public purposes ▽". This is the tiny "spite triangle" that marks a century-old grudge against New York City (Mentalfloss). At 500 square inches, it is the smallest piece of private property in the city (Atlas Obscura). Bonus: 10 NYC Streets from the Original Dutch Colonial Street Grid (Untapped Cities).
Artist Christo has died. He and his wife, Jeanne-Claude, created massive environmental installations. [more inside]
Centroid Towns is an anthology documentary project using photography, oral history interviews, and local archive research to study the twenty-five cities that have been the mean center of population of the United States. This symbolic center is calculated every ten years to accompany the U.S. Census, first located in 1790 near Chestertown, Maryland, and moving steadily westward, currently residing near Plato, Missouri. The project puts a face to statistical data, chronicling these towns and their inhabitants to illuminate the ongoing social and political transformation of America. [more inside]
How RuneScape is helping Venezuelans survive [Runescape]
“Against this cataclysmic economic and societal backdrop, millions of people have fled the country in search of better lives, with many more desperately trying to find their own means of escape. In November 2019, the number of Venezuelan refugees and migrants reached 3 million. Those who remain in the country have been forced to find innovative ways to survive. While some craft bags out of worthless bolivars — Venezuelan currency — to sell at markets, others look to a virtual land of opportunity, spending hours in front of computer screens and mobile phones hunting green dragons* in the online multiplayer role-playing game RuneScape.”*A quick and common way to earn vast amounts of RuneScape’s currency, gold, is to kill “Green Dragons.” Players can collect items dropped by the dragons and sell them on the in-game marketplace for “gold.” Then, this gold can be sold on third-party sites for money that works in the real world (often in the form of cryptocurrency like Bitcoin). [more inside]
Henry Cyril Paget, 5th Marquess of Anglesey (1875 – 1905), styled Lord Paget until 1880 and Earl of Uxbridge between 1880 and 1898, and nicknamed "Toppy", was a British peer who was notable during his short life for squandering his inheritance on a lavish social life and accumulating massive debts. Regarded as the "black sheep" of the family, he was dubbed "the dancing marquess" and for his Butterfly Dancing, taken from Loie Fuller, where a voluminous robe of transparent white silk would be waved like wings. He inherited some £73m. But in the space of just over five years, he had blown the lot, been declared bankrupt, and died from complications of tuberculosis in Monte Carlo. Newspapers in March 1905 declared his death a "wasted life". Paget's style has often been compared to that of Freddie Mercury. (via) Previously on M-F
During a week's break from A Daily Social Distancing Show, Trevor Noah has been thinking. He shares his thoughts in an 18 minute video, George Floyd, Minneapolis Protests, Ahmaud Arbery & Amy Cooper. [more inside]
Maya Dukmasova has been writing about police abolitionist community organizing since 2016: "It’s easy to dismiss prison and police abolition as unrealistic and out of touch, but if one is seriously interested in figuring out how to keep communities safe while reducing violence and other crime, abolitionists offer a plethora of practical ideas. As many of them have pointed out to me over the years, prisons and police don’t do anything to make many neighborhoods safer and more stable, so here are some stories about other ways we could be using our time and resources." [more inside]
"My all-time favorite map-based data visualization was created in 1944. Harold Fisk, working with the US Army Corp. of Engineers, mapped the length of the Mississippi River. What sets his visualization apart from others is that he maps the river through time, and manages to do so in a way that is both beautiful and surprisingly effective. I want to pay homage to his series of maps by creating my own system for procedurally generating maps of meandering rivers." With that, Robert Hodgin made Meander, a procedural system for generating historical maps of rivers (plus adjacent roadways and developments) that never existed. [via Mltshp]
Robert Evans, Bellingcat reporter, hosts the podcast Behind the Bastards. The formula is simple: Robert researches a terrible person (usually from recent history) and relates his research to a rotating cast of comedians who try to crack wise in the face of duplicity, misery, degradation, and death, while Producer Sophie tries to a) keep them on track adn b) stop Robert from wrecking the studio. [more inside]
America's Never-Ending Battle Against Flesh-Eating Worms - "Inside the U.S. and Panama's long-running collaboration to rid an entire continent of a deadly disease." (thread/reader: "Screwworms were eradicated from the U.S. decades ago. But how? In the 1950s, the U.S. began growing millions of screwworms in a factory, sterilizing them with radiation, and dropping them out of planes. And this still happens today! Everyday!"; the USDA's screwworm eradication collection; merch/stickers; via)
BBC Arts Editor Will Gompertz reads E.M. Forster's 1909 novella The Machine Stops. "The Machine Stops is not simply prescient; it is a jaw-droppingly, gob-smackingly, breath-takingly accurate literary description of lockdown life in 2020. [...] It's not lost on me that you are reading this on the internet on a man-made device over which we just about still believe we have mastery." [more inside]
Pelada (90 mins youtube) is a 2010 documentary/travelogue in which two American collegiate soccer players who couldn't make the leap to the professional level investigate the culture of pickup football around the world across 25 countries.
A little new listening for your weekend: Indigo Girls have a new album out, Look Long. It's full of collaborators old and new. Here's the official YouTube playlist. Here are the lyrics at lifeblood.net. [more inside]
Tony Goldmark has spent his quarantine time compiling a key archive of the ages: I figured out the precise chronological order of all the MCU movies (so far) BY SCENE. Start with the first three minutes and forty-five seconds of Thor: The Dark World, then switch over to 1:19:43-1:19:54 of Thor: Ragnarok, and a hundred and sixteen steps later (thanks to Goldmark going back to separate some of the time heist scenes), with all of Spider-Man: Far From Home, you will have Uatu'd the 23 MCU movies, hopping across all of reality to get the story in one kind-of-continuous narrative.
We all know that our pets love us. They snuggle up to us when we’re cold. They cheer us up when we’re feeling down. And the looks that they sometimes give us can make our hearts melt—sometimes it seems like they’re looking straight into our souls. (SLBuzzFeed, h/t Miss Cellania)
Global deaths due to various causes and COVID-19 - a sobering data visualization that puts the pandemic in greater context
Forty years ago a small group of activists formed Food Not Bombs during the Occupation Attempt of the Seabrook Nuclear Power Station. Since then, chapters of the organization (all-volunteer, always free, consensus based) have been serving reclaimed vegetarian food to those in need all over the world, frequently getting arrested for doing so. A planned anniversary celebration involving free outdoor concerts has been scuttled in favor of stepped up action to help feed those affected by illness and economic uncertainty. One of the founders reflects. [more inside]
“I can’t think of anything I could have improved. I’m an old party-giver. To do something like this takes certain people to cooperate with one another. Nobody spilt any drinks. That’s unusual,” he says. “I spilled a lot of drinks in my time.” Bliss Broyard, daughter of Anatole Broyard, pens a lovely vignette about Vincent Livelli, who has lived a very full & fascinating life, and just turned 100.
YouTuber Curious Reviewers examines the top bathrooms in video games. [**WARNING: many of the clips depict nudity, violence, fecal subject matter.**]
Trump’s executive order against Twitter, targeting Section 230, is reminiscent the message boards and aggrieved trolls of the early 2000s. As Matt Haughey says: “Every bad thing at MetaFilter happened with someone who had been testing the rules for a year or two.”
When indigenous peoples (IPs) have no information on the mining activity going on in their community, they are unable to hold others accountable for the use of their resources. They are denied the benefits of the mining activity even as they face major disruptions to their way of life and their environment. To address this, one organization has tried to explain the concepts of open data and mining governance to a community that hosts mining operations in Palawan province in the Philippines.
Catherine Wood, owner-operator of Planetwood Productions in Los Angeles makes the case for maintaining recording credits. There is a good argument to be made that artists, particularly studio artists, lose out when recording credits disappear. Producers can't track studio bands as easily, and you the listener can't follow artists along their steps away from the studio to live performances and independent careers. [more inside]
A sudoku based tribute to the Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
Tall Tales With Dwight Yoakam: An intimate night of conversation and tunes with the hard-charging, mile-a-minute pioneer of honky-tonk himself (GQ) [more inside]
While quarantine has its difficulties, it has also shown to be a great opportunity to catch up on media that one perhaps didn't have time for under a normal work/life schedule. With video games, the amount of time and money potentially invested, however, can leave a potential player asking a lot of questions beforehand, such as "Is it any good?" or "Is is appropriate for my kids?" but most importantly, "Can you violate the Geneva Conventions?"
In 1972 Al Green wrote and recorded Love and Happiness. The Reverend C.E. Hodges was manning the Hammond B-3 (previously). After the intro, listen for co-author and guitarist Teenie Hodges to set the tempo by tapping his foot on a cardboard box...
Connected Coastlines is a nationwide reporting initiative on climate change and coastal states, hosted by the Pulitzer Center. [more inside]
Planting Trees Won't Stop Climate Change - "Not only are planted trees not the carbon sinks you want, but tree planting frequently ends up doing more harm than good." (*The Forest Unseen)
TreeTV is a five-hour video from Adult Swim of footage of trees and mellow music.
Created adjacent to Relaxing Old Footage With Joe Pera.
“Axolotl” by Julio Cortázar
Created adjacent to Relaxing Old Footage With Joe Pera.
“Axolotl” by Julio Cortázar
“It’s a one-time shift in technology. After this, it’s going to stay like this forever,” says Saurabh Bajaj, CEO of Swiftlane, a Silicon Valley touchless startup using facial recognition. He says that Covid-19 had enabled technology to leapfrog into an immediate future of touchless elevators, doors, and trash cans. Our Economy Was Just Blasted Years Into the Future (Marker.Medium.com) More than interacting with the physical world at a distance, the article covers the increased focus on, and fights against facial recognition technology (STAT News), work-from-home becoming more widely adopted and supported (The Guardian), but researchers estimate that 42% of recent layoffs will result in permanent job loss (NBER). [more inside]
T. Greg Doucette, regular member of #LawTwitter and Vic Migonga/Ty Beard commentator par excellence, gets asked what might we do to stop the takeover of the police and the judiciary by white supremacy. Greg replies with an epic 15 point thread.
The listing for this forest-encircled house in California includes some interesting photos. The reclusive resident generally keeps to herself, but trying to shift a property in these times means you have to put yourself out there.
In February, the Canadian Museum of Nature asked Canadians to vote for their favourite lichen. Behold the star-tipped reindeer — Canadians' top pick for a national lichen. Watch Dr. Troy McMullin, lichenologist at the Canadian Museum of Nature, present the Star-tipped Reindeer Lichen as the top vote-getter from the national lichen vote. [more inside]
An oral history of Who Framed Roger Rabbit. (sli09).
This Word Does Not Exist. Thomas Dimson, former Instagram engineer, and interpreter of emojis, brings us computer-generated plants, chemical technobabble, fashion trends, and more.
Lessons From Operation "Denver," the KGB’s Massive AIDS Disinformation Campaign: Historian Douglas Selvage talks about what the Russian government did in the 1980s to spread a conspiracy theory about the origins of HIV, and how that reverberates to the effects of misinformation campaigns currently promoted about the novel coronavirus
A nothing short of triumphant stop motion renovation of an engine [SLYT]. LKW-Werksatt in Niederlauer, Germany, rebuilds a Mercedes Benz Actros OM471LAtruck engine.
Harry Lee Kassen at Comics Bookcase looks hard at the structure of layouts in The Wild Storm by Warren Ellis & Jon Davis-Hunt
In a veritable firework display of digital self portraits, hundreds of quaint, embarrassing and dread-fully disturbing selfies were arranged in a unique short film composition. Single photos, artistically reworked, consolidate to form a ghastly grin that outshines the abyss of human existence. [Possibly NSFW]