This tune is still good.
Monday, June 30, 2008
Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University have devised the first computerized method that can analyze a single photograph and determine where in the world the image likely was taken. It's a feat made possible by searching through millions of GPS-tagged images in the Flickr online photo collection.
IM2GPS: estimating geographic information from a single image
via Smart Mobs
Preparing the Battlefield - The Bush Administration steps up its secret moves against Iran. Clandestine operations against Iran are not new. United States Special Operations Forces have been conducting cross-border operations from southern Iraq, with Presidential authorization, since last year. These have included seizing members of Al Quds, the commando arm of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, and taking them to Iraq for interrogation, and the pursuit of “high-value targets” in the President’s war on terror, who may be captured or killed. But the scale and the scope of the operations in Iran, which involve the Central Intelligence Agency and the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC), have now been significantly expanded, according to the current and former officials. Many of these activities are not specified in the new Finding, and some congressional leaders have had serious questions about their nature.
I have a bad feeling about this. I know this will be all over the web presently and better minds than mine will mull over these words, but I had to put in my piece.
First of all, it seems like we need to learn that trying to destabilize the folks from that part of the world never seems to work out too well, in the long run. The usually re-emerge in a heightened state of anger and resolve. We might have seriously damaged the current terror machine, but if recent history is any gauge, a new one will emerge. Unless of course, you continually brutally blast the shit out of them, one after the other, for all of living eternity. And they'll still keep coming. Maybe a somewhat more cerebral approach is in order.
Secondly, are we due for some sort of surprise from the Bush administration between now and November? These next few months could prove to be very interesting, in a Chinese proverb sort of way.
Finally, after reading the above article and a few others, it seems to me that the military-industrial complex is in the Middle East to stay and won't let anyone like Barack Obama mess up their plans. There could be some strange battles and deals coming up after the election. I'd wager that when we're still in Iraq in 2010 the grumbling and disillusionment will commence. I hope I'm wrong and that this guy will wave his wand and make it all better, but history and personal experience and objective observation are against it. I am an optimist and I believe fervently that we need to shift our priorities from killingry to livingry and I will chip away at this until the day I die, but I have to be realistic.
Baghdad's walls keep peace but feel like prison Rows after rows of barrier walls divide the city into smaller and smaller areas that protect people from bombings, sniper fire and kidnappings. They also lead to gridlock, rising prices for food and homes, and complaints about living in what feels like a prison. (via)
plus 12 Ways to Save Money on Your Electric Bill This Summer (via); The 10 worst property investments ever (via); Free Quizzes, Widgets, Gadgets and other impossibly cool things to stick on your blog (actually cool) (via); Baraka sequel in production. (nice, they're due) (via); Volkswagen- Sized Catfish (we're gonna need a shitload of fryers!)
South African based artist faith47 released this video as part of her the restless debt of third world beauty project. It was directed by Rowan Pybus with music by Fletcher.
I sat entranced while I watched this video a half-dozen times or so. The imagery and score seem to capture the vibe of the slums of Cape Town without being gratuitous or pretentious. Her art brings it all together beautifully. The whole thing feels real and accessible.
Sunday, June 29, 2008
The AirPiano is an innovative musical interface which allows playing and controlling software instruments simply by moving hands in the air.
I'm really digging these new musical interfaces. Take this and this, dust this off, add a little of this and some AirPiano and you'd have quite the ensemble.
via today and tomorrow see also Chronotopic Anamorphosis and Yuri Suzuki.
Five Steps to Sustainable Governance in Africa Paul Collier, a professor of economics at Oxford University and the author of The Bottom Billion, discusses policy options for helping the poorest countries in Africa.
Tons of Scrap Metal Removed from Chernobyl Zone Daily New reports indicate that up to 100 tons of scrap metal are removed from the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone every day. Approximately half this amount is legally removed by the government, but the other half is smuggled out to the rest of the world.
Brazil's pigeon drug mules Brazilian prison authorities have discovered carrier pigeons being used to deliver drugs and mobile phones to inmates. (via)
also: How To Survive Without Air-Conditioning; 9 Extraordinary Human Abilities; Dogs Acting Human (temptation from the fluffy side)
Lagniappe: PostPanic + Postman Returns (watch, cool visuals, booming sound) (via)
Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity. - Hanlon's Razor (not to be confused with Heinlein's corollary to Murphy's Law - Things will go wrong, even if they can't. Murphy was an optimist.*)
Saturday, June 28, 2008
Life in the Fast Lane takes us on an in-depth and action-packed tour of the world's most violent, destructive and deadly volcanoes. (with notes on volcanoes as alternate energy and volcano vacations)
Coober Pedy Hotel
You may be thinking that living underground like this makes no sense, but the harsh summer temperatures in the deserts of South Australia can often times be too much. These underground caves sustain a consistent cool temperature, making it the perfect place to live in a not-so-perfect town.
Looks like a nice place. Odd how there's so few people in the pictures.
via Coudal Partners
First American picture of a baseball game, 1838:
In the 1820s, a group of men from Philadelphia, prevented by an obscure ordinance from enjoying their favorite pastime in their own city, began playing an early version of baseball in Camden, New Jersey. By the 1830s, other teams had formed along the East Coast, and rules to the game were published in Robin Carver’s Book of Sports (1834). Carver’s book included this woodcut depicting a baseball game played on Boston Common. The same cut was used to illustrate several publications over the next few years, including the first and second editions of The Boy’s Book of Sports (1835 and 1838).
Graphic Arts (interesting offerings from the Graphic Arts Division, Princeton University)
via The Stumbling Tumblr
As you might have noticed, I'm a total geek for Buckminster Fuller. I'm reading Operating Manual for Spaceship Earth again this weekend and I really enjoyed this Wired photo essay.
The above image is one of his wackier ideas:
To construct one of his Lightful Towers, Fuller imagined that one airship would first drop a bomb and create a hole in the ground, then a second airship would drop the building into the hole. The stacked apartment unit would be sealed into the ground with cement and ready for use.
There is a more human, even somewhat darker side to the Fuller mythos that was brought back to mind by the comment on the above post and was hinted at in a recent New York Times article. We'll be exploring this side of dear old Bucky in the offing.
Friday, June 27, 2008
The Unclear Origins of Oil Crude oil is almost $140 per barrel. By now you'd think we would know where it comes from. No one really knows. The conventional wisdom is that oil descends from algae from eons ago. Lots and lots of algae. Unimaginable mounds of dead algae in quantities no longer found on this planet, pressed, and cooked into hydrocarbon liquids. Thus: fossil fuel. Others, notably the Russians, have an alternative theory that oil comes from non-biological carbon compounds deep in this planet, like the methane oceans we find on other planets. In this scenario oil is a planetary phenomenon. Indeed this abiogenic oil could still be forming in the earth. Thousands of Russian papers supporting this view have still not been translated.
The Rise of Medical Tourism: Shopping the World for Medical Procedure Bargains I hear about this more and more. I wonder when the horror stories will start to surface in the mainstream? Did I miss something? There is an organization known as the Medical Tourism Association that aims to promote, raise awareness and keep an eye on things. I have a feeling that this is only going to become more popular as the farce that is the American medical/insurance apparatus continues to fail to meet the needs of a substantial portion of the population.
Beautiful Messes: A Travel Guide to Man-made Disasters Whether you want to cruise by the floating pile of plastic in the Pacific or throw some trash into the nation’s largest landfill, GOOD has the dirt on where to go to get a close-up look at the most spectacular disasters man has wrought on the environment. Plus: What to do when you visit. Feel GOOD about yourself while you visit god-awful nasty places.
Also, the CIA's latest Studies in Intelligence has a few interesting articles (via); Earth to Aliens: We're a Bunch of Dorks (via); Exaggeration with Maps (via); Michel Gondry Wants You To Watch These 25 Music Videos
Lagniappe - AMNH Picturing the Museum (via); Flickr: The Commons (via); Mr. Picassohead (thx)
You brought two too many...
Ennio Morricone's score for Sergio Leone's Once Upon a Time in the West starts with the first notes of his well-known The Man with the Harmonica. The soundtrack music, in fact, starts with the first water drip you'll hear on this video. Close your eyes or turn away from the monitor and you'll experience a magnificent piece of sound design and composition.
Better to just watch and listen for the full effect, as the imagery is integral.
One interesting twist to this film, which is often overlooked, is in the casting. Charles Bronson, the protagonist, up to that point almost always played the bad guy. Henry Fonda, who plays one of the truly great movie villains, almost always was the good guy. Leone's Westerns often blurred or obliterated the line between hero and villain, but that's the way it draws out in this one. It was a subtle move on the director's part, I suspect to add to the cognitive dissonance and ambiguities that often permeate his films.
Thursday, June 26, 2008
Here at the Book Review, we get a ton of mail.
Every once in a while, when we’re pulling the endless books and press releases from publishers out of envelopes, out plops a little item of some sort. In fact, of every sort. From tennis balls to whoopee cushions, we’ve seen it all.
Marines in Afghanistan Weigh In on a Life at War They live in crude mud-wall compounds. There are no sewage system, no telephones, no electricity — these young men have been sleeping in the dirt for weeks. But the Marines have come up with a trick to beat the Afghan heat. Lance Cpl. Brian Archer sticks water bottles in a wet cotton sock. "Piece of cloth, wrap up a hot drink in it, well water over it, let the wind hit it. Be like an hour or two. And it feels like you just pulled it out of the fridge. It's great," he explains.
Online service lets blind surf the Internet from any computer, anywhere New software, called WebAnywhere lets blind and visually impaired people surf the Web on the go. The tool developed at the University of Washington turns screen-reading into an Internet service that reads aloud Web text on any computer with speakers or a headphone connection.
Stoners, Like, Totally Solve Nation's Air Travel Problems Air travel is a total hassle, man, and marijuana advocates in Denver say everyone would find the normally excruciating process a lot more pleasant if they could enjoy a few bong hits before boarding. It might even help solve a few of the problems that airlines have been experiencing lately. The way they see it, if people can knock a few back before a flight, they should be able to spark one up. They're calling on airports nationwide to install marijuana lounges. Not sure where they're going with this by the end, but if it helps alleviate the humiliation of gate-rape, I'm, like, all for it. Seems like they should focus their energy on the legal issues first, man.
How Can I Free My Home of Pests without Harming My Family? I'm fully behind all-natural pesticides. Those chemicals make me feel sick. If I even walk by a house that had been recently sprayed it gives me a headache.
I never knew Google was THIS massive! If you only read one of these, read this one. It will blow your mind. (via)
Linfen, China: This city of more than four million is in the heart of Shanxi, China’s coal-production hub, and has frequently been deemed the most polluted city in the world; citizens suffer from choking clouds of coal dust as well as drinking water polluted with arsenic. But Linfen is not the only city in the country with environmental woes—the World Bank estimates that 16 of the world’s 20 most polluted cities are found in China’s industrial areas. Photo by Blacksmith Institute/Andreas Haberman
The World's Ten Worst Cities
Desiree Dolron's photographs look like paintings. Really good paintings. Granted, there is a great deal of enhancement in many of these images, the effect makes it worthwhile. I was especially moved by the Te Di Todos Mis Suenos, a series of astonishingly beautiful images of Cuba, its places and people. The other galleries on her site are no less remarkable, some a bit discomforting.
via The World's Best Ever
John Todd, Jaime Snyder and Hunter Lovins interviewed on Democracy Now
Dr. John Todd was awarded the first annual Buckminster Fuller Challenge prize at a conferring ceremony at the Center for Architecture in New York City on Monday, June 23rd.
A model of R. Buckminster Fuller’s “Dymaxion Dwelling Machines” community, about 1946. An exhibition at the Whitney Museum of American Art will offer a review of some of his grandest designs.
The Love Song of R. Buckminster Fuller
AS the designer R. Buckminster Fuller liked to tell it, his powerful creative vision was born of a moment of deep despair at the age of 32. A self-described ne’er-do-well, twice ejected from Harvard, a failure in business and a heavy drinker, he trudged to the Chicago lakefront one day in 1927 and stood there, contemplating suicide. But an inner voice interrupted, telling him that he had a mission to discover great truths, all for the good of humankind...
But recent research has shed new light on Fuller’s inner life and what really drove him. In particular, it now appears that the suicide story may have been yet another invention, an elaborate myth that served to cover up a formative period that was far more tumultuous and unstable, for far longer, than Fuller ever revealed.
Buckminster Fuller exhibition at the Whitney opens today (prev)
Kermit Love, the costume designer for some of ballet’s most renowned choreographers whose greatest fame came as a creator, with Jim Henson, of the beloved “Sesame Street” characters Big Bird and Mr. Snuffleupagus, died on Saturday in Poughkeepsie, N.Y. He was 91 and lived in Stanfordville, N.Y.
I saw the very first Sesame Street in 1969. That show has done more for kids and non-English speaking athletes and immigrants than will ever be truly known.
The Snuffleupagus was one of my earliest mind-bending experiences.
Erik Weihenmayer, known as the first blind climber to reach the summit of Mt. Everest, is now climbing with the help of a tool that allows him to see in a new way-- with his tongue.
In normal vision, light hitting the retina provokes electrical impulses that the brain translates into images. What the tool, called the BrainPort, does is convert light into electrical impulses that stimulate the tongue instead of the retina. With more tactile nerve endings than any other part of the body except the lips, the tongue can discriminate two points spaced less than a millimeter apart. That degree of resolution is far beyond what the current BrainPort array, with only 611 electrodes, provides. But tests have shown the BrainPort delivers enough information for users like Erik to navigate with.
see also: echolocation
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
Matthew Stromberg uses a wide variety of powerful and volatile substances, including rocket fuel, explosives, gunpowder, propellants and bullets, aka energetic materials, in order to create art rather than destroy. The Savannah College of Art and Design professor utilizes these forceful methods to apply his mark to wood, metal and paper. The results are quite visceral and evocative of the violent patterns of nature-- images seared and impressed in high-energy events. They kick ass, too.
Some might draw comparisons to the work of Cai Guo-Qiang and others, but few, maybe none use such a wide variety of materials and processes. I'm partial to the machine gun work.
Stromberg first began experimenting with energetic materials last year. It’s not something for the faint of heart. “I would say it’s very dangerous,” Stromberg says....
At times, Stromberg must get permission from the U.S. Department of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms to do a project. “No hazardous waste can be associated with my work,” he says....
Stromberg plans to keep doing even more training and research. “I’ll be stepping up the magnitude of the explosives,” he says. “There are so many different types of energetic materials. There is always something else to research and try.”
Here he is at work with an M11/9 submachine gun:
Here he is drawing with solid rocket fuel:
and drawing with some highly explosive ANFO (Ammonium Nitrate/Fuel Oil) With this example you get a small taste of what could go wrong:
mstrombe on YouTube
you can find more images here
Who are the black ghosts?
The Black Ghosts' lament through their perverse, personal pop music. Theirs is a peculiarly British noir , where the divorcee next door dreams of nocturnal visitations from predatory incubi, and an awkward boy genius tinkers with forbidden science in the garden shed. Unmanned Casio keyboards left for dead in the loft burst into requiems of their own composition, attractive cousins are murdered for what they know, and an unspeakable horror lurks in the depths of the spare room.
You might be surprised to hear the new album from Simian's Simon Lord and The Wiseguys' Theo Keating, recording together as The Black Ghosts, spun in this melodramatic fashion. But both have some undeniably sinister credentials to back up The Black Ghosts ' tales of modern gothic romance.
Album out July 8th in the US
The Black Ghosts
via Listening Post
Big one today.
Pentagon Spy: Terrorists Ready to Launch Satellite Strikes by 2020 What it should have been called was: China pretty much capable of launching satellite strike right now. My favorite part: Take, for instance, the Defense Department's accusation that Beijing has "developed and tested an ASAT system described as a 'parasitic microsatellite'" - a tiny machine that would attach itself to American orbiters, for nefarious purposes. The claim, which first appeared in the 2003 edition of the Pentagon's annual “Chinese Military Power" (CMP) report, came from a Hong Kong newspaper, and was repeated in several editions. Experts guffawed at the suggestion.
Stakeouts, Lucky Breaks Snare Six More in Citibank ATM Heist The FBI has recently made at least six more arrests in New York -- bringing the total to 10 -- thanks to information from arrested scam suspects, a lucky traffic stop, and an undercover operation that at one point had Eastern European hackers chasing a female FBI agent through the streets of New York, trying to mug her for ATM-card-programming gear.
The Web Time Forgot In 1934, Otlet sketched out plans for a global network of computers (or “electric telescopes,” as he called them) that would allow people to search and browse through millions of interlinked documents, images, audio and video files. He described how people would use the devices to send messages to one another, share files and even congregate in online social networks. He called the whole thing a “réseau,” which might be translated as “network” — or arguably, “web.” (via)
Eyeing tourism, Haiti battles its violent reputation "It's a big myth," says Fred Blaise, spokesman for the UN police force in Haiti. "Port-au-Prince is no more dangerous than any big city. You can go to New York and get pickpocketed and held at gunpoint. The same goes for cities in Mexico or Brazil." Eye opener (via)
How Russian Scientists Kept a Dog’s Severed Head Alive! So wrong. Highly disturbing whether true or not. Video and everything. Environmental Graffiti is no namby-pamby outfit. They post some pretty hardcore stuff.
George Carlin's Last Interview Long interview and it's just the highlights! One of the most extensive interviews I've read. My arm is getting tired here. The crook of my arm. (via)
Maryland plantation attic holds 400 years of documents For four centuries, they were the ultimate pack rats. Now a Maryland family's massive collection of letters, maps and printed bills has surfaced in the attic of a former plantation, providing a firsthand account of life from the 1660s through World War II. (via)
Could treasure hunters have discovered "Nazi Gold"? A recent discovery has renewed world interest in the quest. Have treasure hunters really discovered the famed Nazi gold stash? Some say they have. Some even say they've found the Amber Room.
Shaolin Temple wants to sell its secret Today's Southern Metropolis Daily has an article reporting that Shaolin is now selling a series of books called"Shaolin Kung Fu and Medicine Secret" (少林武功医宗秘笈) for 9,990 yuan a set on its online store, "Shaolin Stage of Joy". I'll hold out for the Shaolin Buddha Finger.
Preserving Your Personal Digital Archives While there is, as of yet, no hard guarantee that your family photos will be around 10,000 years from now, there are a few things that you can do to keep them around long enough for the next generation to enjoy and pass on. We have some basic tips for keeping your personal digital data alive and kicking through your lifetime, and if you want to shoot for the ten thousand year mark, these tips can get you headed in that direction, too. It stands to reason that the Long Now people are as good a source as any for this type on info.
The Wizard of Mauritius An enticing mystery.
Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo. (via)
This tune rocks. They're not really known for their music, but they were pretty good and it still stands up. I wore this record out when I was a kid.
Read I'm Learning To Share!'s excellent and informative posts on Cheech and Chong and their music.
I heard this back in 2000 and it blew me away. I just bumbled upon in on YouTube and it still makes me smile and shake my head. (I did a remix of this back then and I cannot find it. I know someone in New Orleans has a copy and will send it to me... hint hint.)
If if that wasn't incredible enough, here's live version where he adds a bass-line and background vocals. It's a bit rough but you'll get the idea.
Rahzel LIVE @ Prince Bandroom Melbourne Australia 2007
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
Why Do You Lie? The Perils of Self-Reporting (everybody lies everyday... mostly at work.)
Potential Plowshare: The 'Magnetic Audio Device' Weapon: A high-powered Magnetic Audio Device that was designed as a non-lethal weapon might have music-related uses, after a demonstration revealed that the music of Queen and Frank Sinatra sounded decent at distances of up to one mile away. Soon: DARPA hits the brown note at Coachella
Practice in front of a bush: Captain Beefheart's rules for guitarists: 1. LISTEN TO THE BIRDS That's where all the music comes from. Birds know everything about how it should sound and where that sound should come from. And watch hummingbirds. They fly really fast, but a lot of times they aren't going anywhere. thanx, Crow
A Goya Tour of Madrid: Hear about the hidden gems of the Spanish master, Francisco José de Goya y Lucientes, in the city where he lived and worked (via)
Neave Television ...telly without context. I kept expecting something horrible to happen. A bit unnerving but I had to pull myself away. I can't be responsible for any trauma you might sustain from watching this. Lots of other goodies on the main site. (via)
Monday, June 23, 2008
Photo Essay: Revisiting the Most Controversial Olympics of All (1936); Are the Laws of Nature the Same Everywhere in the Universe? (via); Top 10 Most Disgusting Parasites (nasty); Brooklyn Record Riot (“Target is now selling turntables”); Hot Chicks With Douchebags (the blog) (via)
Lagniappe: Daniel Schorr: Why Are There so Many Natural Disasters?
I have been passionate about commercial architecture and roadside related things all my life. I grew up in California but New York City has been my home since 1980. I started this website in 2000 simply as a way to organize my own photos. Since then, it has become a bit of an obsession and grown to well over 1,000 pages.
I could spend hours going through all this stuff. She gives nice write-ups on the subjects, from drive-ins, giant things, diners and restaurants, motels, Tiki and all sorts of other strange and fascinating places.
Debra has a weblog, too, but hasn't been updated for a couple of months. It's seems he only posts while she's traveling. I'm subscribed and looking forward to her next road trip.
I was happy to see that she caught the Thunderbird Inn, here in Savannah, as well as the giant cow at Keller's Flea Market.
George Carlin: Life is Worth Losing
If you haven't seen this, watch it. It's the single most important piece of social and human commentary that I've heard since Bill Hicks was doing his thing.
It's also astonishingly relevant to the moment.
Need I say NSFW?