Friday, October 31, 2008
Thursday, October 30, 2008
Walt Whitman, some time between 1848 to 1854, probably in New York. Photographer unknown, but perhaps John Plumbe, Jr., whose daguerreotype studio Walt Whitman often visited around this time.
Did they smoke weed back then?
The Walt Whitman Archive
hat tip to Could it be Madness-this?
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Near Dark is right up there with The Hunger as one of my favorite vampire movies. It certainly is flawed, but I was more than willing to suspend disbelief for the overall effort. Psychopathic cowboy vampires in the 1980s? I'm all over it.
It seems like someone was cherry-picking at the set of Aliens to cast this, with Lance Henriksen (always a favorite), Bill Paxton and Jeanette "Vasquez" Goldstein starring behind two leading characters that are less memorable, but provide the hook that the rest of the overshadowing craziness hangs on. Best of show has to go to Homer, the child-vampire played by Joshua Miller, who also played Keanu Reeves's little brother in River's Edge, another one of my favorite films from the 1980s.
You can watch it on Hulu.
Dreamer by Andrew Hefter
Certain turns and exigencies have left me wondering and unable to focus right now. I'm going to disconnect and mull this over, dream a bit and sort out my mental clutter. I'll be back later today, tomorrow morning at the latest.
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Atlas of hidden water may avert future conflict:
They are one of the world's greatest and most precious natural resources, yet are entirely hidden. Now, for the first time, a high-resolution map shows where underground aquifers store vast amounts of water.
The origins of Watchmen:
Alan Moore's initial outline for Watchmen was already more than Dave Gibbons 'could have imagined', but it went on to become one of the greatest graphic novels of all time. Here we present preliminary designs and early sketches which chart the development of their alternate reality
Precisely when the term was coined we're not sure. Department stores such as Sears and K-Mart began used it in their marketing as early as 1983. Merriam-Webster pins it at 1981, and defines the boom box as "a large portable radio and often tape player with two attached speakers". Initially, it became identified with a certain group of society, hence adopting epithetic nicknames, like ghetto blaster, and jam box. But as the masses began to embrace this assemblage of electronics gadgets as an indispensable form of portable entertainment, it became an icon of popular culture, and we've yet to let go. Your hosts of Pocket Calculator Show endeavor here to provide a retrospective, including as many photos, facts and accounts as we can provide, during your tour of the Vintage Boombox Museum.
Monday, October 27, 2008
Getting A Story Made at National Geographic After talking with several National Geographic photographers about shooting for the magazine I became intrigued with the process of getting a story made. The collaboration between the photo editors and photographers and then the photographers involvement in all the steps along the way is unique and important to how they make stories. More magazines should spend this kind of time with their contributors. The few times I’ve had photographer come into the office and present their images to us have been incredibly rewarding and certainly I think made the story that much better. I asked David Griffin, National Geographic’s Director of Photography about the process of getting stories made and the rumored years it takes for a story to go from idea to printed page... (via)
Jacking into the Brain--Is the Brain the Ultimate Computer Interface? How far can science advance brain-machine interface technology? Will we one day pipe the latest blog entry or NASCAR highlights directly into the human brain as if the organ were an outsize flash drive?
From Silver Lake to Suicide: One Family's Secret History of the Jonestown Massacre A cache of letters hidden in the basement brings to life a house, a family and the tragedy that would change everything (via)
Love story: The librarian, the postal worker and their art Art takes up all the air in Herb and Dorothy Vogel's cramped one-bedroom on the Upper East Side. Minimalist and conceptual works cover every inch of wall and dangle from the ceiling. Because there is no other place for it, a Richard Tuttle painting clings to the inside of a louvered door that leads to the tiny kitchen. Other pieces crowd shelves and table tops. And the Vogels, who are giving the Miami Art Museum and 49 other institutions around the country gifts of 50 artworks each and are subjects of a documentary that will screen in December during Art Basel Miami Beach, say there is plenty more under the bed and jammed into the closets of this modest, rent-stabilized space they have called home since 1963.
Library Ghosts: Northeastern U.S. Last year about this time (just in time for Halloween), I posted on this blog a list of libraries that are said to be haunted. Now the library ghosts are back, by popular demand...
Stanislav Petrov, the man who could have started a nuclear war, but didn’t (via)
Know Your Intelligence Agencies: National Reconnaissance Office
Biology in Science Fiction: Erasing Memory
The History of Some of Today's Most Common Phrases (via)
Recent additions to the Chambers Slang Dictionary
1000 artworks to see before you die (via)
Podcasts from the University of Oxford (via)
Haruki Murakami interview (via)
Wayne Coyne interview
Aerial Phenomena Research: Selected Papers - Jacques F. Vallee (via)
Casting the Runes by M.R. James
Futility Closet: Over the Moon Jules Verne earned his title as the father of science fiction. His 1865 novel From the Earth to the Moon contains eerie similarities to the Apollo program that unfolded a century later. (read more)
The Anti-Fascist trailer
Parallel Universes, Parallel Lives 1/6 (Eels frontman Mark Everett in search of his father's brain. Dr Hugh Everett III proposed the many-worlds interpretation of quantum physics.) (via)
Hog Hunting (A plague of feral hogs has descended on the American South. They've been spotted here in Savannah.) (via)
The Real Secret Of The Matrix: The Haunting Sound Of The Waterphone (You'll know it as soon as you hear it.)
Daily (kinda sorta) Weather with David Lynch (via)
Angkor Wat, Cambodia (1930s newsreel)
Mr. Warhola is the older brother of Andy Warhol. In the early 1990s he took time away from his junkyard business for a series of chicken feet paintings. As I sketched him at his son's house in Tivoli, New York, I wrote down word-for-word the story of his life as he told it to me....
This picture was taken by an elderly lady in Mt. Juliet, Tennessee who told her relatives that there were "ghosts" in her back yard and that they would simply come out of the woods, walk around, and eventually disappear.
Seeing that no on(e) really believed her, she decided to take pictures the next time they appeared.
Reportedly, the lady lives alone, she's over 80 years old, and she gets around using a walker therefore she had no desire - or means - to fake the picture.
via Brand Upon the Brain!
wolf böwig - burma. sterben im ko thulei:
"One-man-army" belongs to the (Karen) special forces which were trained in guerilla warfare... he is fighting alone behind the front lines to gather information and to kill as many Burmese soldiers as possible.
Sunday, October 26, 2008
National Air and Space Museum:
In 1903, Dr. Julius Neubronner patented a miniature pigeon camera activated by a timing mechanism. Equipped with the cameras, the pigeons photographed a castle in Kronberg, Germany, around 1908. Pigeon Photographs © Deutsches Museum, Munich.
Spy Pigeons Circle the World
Saturday, October 25, 2008
image source unknown
This is a tax collection team from the FSNP, Russia's tax police. If you give the ordinary collectors the slip and they want you bad enough, these are the people they send looking for you. You think the IRS is bad? How would you like these guys barking down your snorkel?
Years ago, I saw another photo of one of these units in a magazine, but I couldn't locate it on the net. From what I remember the general composition of the team is an officer with clipboard and pistol, a big guy with a Stihl saw and as many submachine gun wielding goons as needed. The saw is used to cut through walls or around door frames.
Not much info on this bureau of the Russian government out there, but here's what I could find:
Russia's Tax Police Press Media Message: Pay Up (NYT, 1998)
Military school for Russia's child tax cadets (CNN, 2001)
Federal service of RF tax police (FSNP)
Russian language profile of FSNP (scroll down for loads of uniform/patch images)
Flag of federal bodies of tax police of the Russian Federation, 1997—2003
Three separate undated photos show the restoration process of Italian artist Raphael’s 1506 oil-on-wood painting “Madonna of the Goldfinch,” which had been shattered into 17 pieces then nailed back together following a house collapse. After 10 painstaking years of work, the Italian Renaissance artwork is returning to the public. (Reuters/Opificio Delle Pietre Dure/Handout)
Friday, October 24, 2008
Rizwan Sadir, a wrestler and factory worker, showers from a hand pump next to the Ravi river in Pakistan. Hand pumps are not deep enough to avoid the polluted water. photo: Malcolm Hutcheson
Unsustainable living - photography prize 2008
Swiss boffins sniff passwords from (wired) keyboards 65 feet away Swiss researchers have demonstrated a variety of ways to eavesdrop on the sensitive messages computer users type by monitoring their wired keyboards. At least 11 models using a wide range of connection types are vulnerable. (similar to van Eck phreaking) Be sure to watch the video demonstration. (see also) (ht)
Packs of robots will hunt down uncooperative humans "What we have here are the beginnings of something designed to enable robots to hunt down humans like a pack of dogs. Once the software is perfected we can reasonably anticipate that they will become autonomous and become armed...." (also)
Woman arrested for killing virtual husband The spurned make-believe wife was so angry at being jilted that she logged into the game using her partner’s password and destroyed the character that he had spent a year creating.
Interview: Matt Bondurant Slushpile: Some authors can bog themselves down while researching. They spend all their time scrounging for some esoteric detail instead of writing. How do you balance the need to research for historical accuracy but also continuing to make progress with actually writing the book? Bondurant: I don’t really balance it at all; I get completely bogged down and sidetracked in my research all the time. But I think that is one of the things that drives me to write in that it satisfies my natural dilettante urge. I love research, particularly scattered, confused, and unorganized research. I get to read about all the things that interest me. Right now on my desk I have books about the islands of Ireland, nautical charts, seasonal temperatures in the North Atlantic, articles on goat farming, books and articles on long distance open water swimming, Spinoza’s Ethics, the Journals of John Cheever, scholarly articles on The Tempest, pictures of rocks, lists of types of seaweed, plus pages and pages of my own journals and notes, often scratched out on tiny scraps of paper I carry in my pockets. I sit down and sift through it and find something interesting. Some days I add things to the pile. My progress in the actual writing comes in fits and starts, and sometimes it seems to me a miracle that I get anything done at all. One day I sit down and realize I’ve got 300 pages written and it comes as a kind of shock.
Bulletproof hanky is life-saving accessory
Musée de la Musique Opens Serge Gainsbourg Exhibition
How to Live in Your Car
Jargon Watch: Popcorning v. A chain reaction in which the accidental explosion of one nuclear warhead causes others in the vicinity to detonate, releasing lethal radiation for miles in every direction. Newly declassified documents reveal that dropping a Trident missile while loading it onto a submarine could ignite a Jiffy Pop Nagasaki.
A Long Exposure: 100 years of Guardian photography
Homemade Trains as Transport Built with bamboo and tiny engines, do-it-yourself trains are ferrying Cambodians who, faced with unreliable public transportation, took matters into their own hands.
NFBC Vignette - Inuit Pipe (via)
The Arthur Lipsett Project: A Dot on the Histomap (2007) In the 1960's Arthur Lipsett defined experimental film making at the NFB. His second film, Very Nice, Very Nice, was nominated for an Academy Award. George Lucas claimed him as an important influence. A decade later, Lipsett's last attempt at filmmaking ended in failure. He chained his Steenbeck and film racks to prevent theft and disappeared into paranoia.
I lived in two areas of New Orleans that had wild Quaker parrots all over the place. When I lived in Gentilly, we had them in the palm trees in our front yard. One of the people in the neighborhood told me that they had escaped from a pet store fire back in the '60s. Since Quaker parrots, aka Monk parakeets, originate in Argentina and are not migratory, it stands to reason that they escaped from captivity of some sort. They thrive there.
It seems that feral parrots are living in cities all over the world.
BrooklynParrots.com a website about the wild parrots of Brooklyn and other environs
Blake Pontchartrain on the wild Quaker parrots of New Orleans
and yes, they did survive Katrina
City Parrots Urban Parrot Conservation
The California Parrot Project
Independent Lens - The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill (PBS) (clip)
The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill
The Automata / Automaton Blog:
Artist Blair Somerville (above) sits in a green bus in Papatowai, a small settlement in the Catlins district of the southeastern South Island of New Zealand. The bus is home to The Lost Gypsy Gallery, a collection of Somerville's quirky work.
It looks like he's resting on some sort of kneel-board. I count three fire extinguishers.
Thursday, October 23, 2008
Love was born a slave in Davidson County, Tennessee, in 1854. Despite slavery era statutes that outlawed black literacy he learned to read and write as a child with the help of his father. He later went west to Dodge City, Kansas, and became a cowboy. He entered a rodeo on the 4th of July in 1876. He won the rope, throw, tie, bridle, saddle and bronco riding contests. His fans called him by the nickname "Deadwood Dick."
In October 1877, he was captured by a band of Akimel O'odham (Pima) while rounding up stray cattle near the Gila River in Arizona. Love reported that his life was spared because the Indians respected his fighting ability. Thirty days after being captured, Love stole a pony and managed to escape into West Texas.
Love spent the latter part of his life working as a Pullman porter. He died in Los Angeles at age 67 in 1921.
The Life and Adventures of Nat Love, Better Known in the Cattle Country as "Deadwood Dick" by Himself; a True History of Slavery Days, Life on the Great Cattle Ranges and on the Plains of the "Wild and Woolly" West, Based on Facts, and Personal Experiences of the Author (electronic edition with cover, photos and illustrations)
The Life and Adventures of Nat Love, Also Known As Deadwood Dick (LibriVox audiobook)
Did Bach’s wife write his music?
The Duke in His Domain (Capote profiles Brando, 1957) (via)
The Atlas of Cyberspace (free pdf, beautifully illustrated) (via)
The Ultimate Camper (via)
Rare recordings of some of the 20th Century's greatest writers
A Ferment of World Jazz Yields a Trove of Tapes
Cassell's Dictionary of Slang (fair bit of it)
The Multicolr Search Lab (search Flickr by color; easy and impressive) (via)
Futility Closet: “The Continental Salamander” In the year 1826, one Monsieur Chabert … performed the following feats at the White Conduit Gardens: Having partaken of a hearty meal of phosphorus, washed down with a copious draught of oxalic acid in a solution of arsenic, he drank... (read more)
Making ofs (videos about the making of videos, incl. Gondry, Cunningham)
Ways of seeing (John Berger TV documentary) (via)
A Half Century of Video Games (footage of the first video game)
Jeff Mills: Critical Arrangements Interview
Elliott Smith & Friends (“backstage” video)
lexigram for "Enkidu"
Gilgamesh for Apes (all of it; readable by both humans and great apes)
The question becomes: can the ape move away from primordial wordsoup to the solid state of conventional literature. Great apes do have what it takes to be literati: they have self-awareness and empathy, they can deceive and play roles, they can have pleasure, they can mourn and feel sad and lonely, they have great sense of class dynamics... They have other assets in which they surpass us, like a superb short-term memory and a good ear. In fact apes are already telling stories. Gorilla Michael has given us what his keepers believe to be an account of the death of his mother at the hand of poachers: "Squash meat gorilla. Mouth tooth. Cry sharp-noise loud. Bad think-trouble look-face. Cut/neck lip (girl) hole".
brought to us by Social Fiction (updated Oct. 2008)
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
Medicine show, Huntingdon, Tennessee.
Photographer: Ben Shahn
Fortunately, in 1935, Shahn was recommended by Walker Evans, a friend and former roommate, to Roy Stryker to join the photographic group at the Farm Security Administration (FSA). As a member of the FSA group, Shahn traveled and documented the American south alongside Walker Evans, Dorothea Lange and other photographers. Like his earlier photography of New York City, Shahn’s FSA work can be viewed as social-documentary.
Prints and Photographs Reading Room, Library of Congress
Monday afternoon, I awoke to find my internet disconnected. This was a bit of a puzzle, as I was up to date on my bill. I know that it wasn't an outage because I heard the cable guy doinking around with the box.
I tried to call customer service all day but could not get through due to a "high volume of calls."
Tuesday afternoon, I woke up to find that it was back on. WooHoo! I'm not sure what happened, but I'm back on the axe.
I have to admit that it threw me off my game all day.
Monday, October 20, 2008
Glynnis Ritchie's photostream:
Shakespeare and Company, is an independent bookstore located in the 5th arrondissement of Paris's Left Bank. Shakespeare and Company serves as a bookstore and also a lending library, specializing in English-language literature. The upstairs also serves as a makeshift dormitory for travelers, known as "tumbleweeds," who earn their keep by working in the shop for a couple of hours each day.
I'd love to live in a bookstore. I'd settle for being a cat in a bookstore.
hat tip: 徴候